Kevin Harvick may be a winner before he even starts the Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
That’s because the driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is also a businessman who runs his own management firm, KHI Management, which represents Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight title challenger Miesha Tate. Tate will fight champion Holly Holm as the co-headliner Saturday night during UFC 196 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Harvick will be looking for a clean sweep of the weekend in Las Vegas both in the octagon and on the racetrack.
The defending Kobalt 400 winner delivered a dominating performance at Las Vegas in 2015 to score his first win of the season and his first at Las Vegas in only the season’s third race. His No. 4 car lived up to the “freaky fast” motto of sponsor Jimmy John’s as he led five times for a race-high 142 laps en route to his 29th career Sprint Cup win.
The Bakersfield, California native has had reasons to celebrate at Las Vegas dating all the way back to 2001. Following his Sprint Cup debut Feb. 26 of that year at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, the series headed west to Las Vegas. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2001, Harvick married his wife DeLana. That Sunday, March 4, Harvick scored his first career Sprint Cup top-10.
In early December 2014, he was honored as the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion during Champions Week in Las Vegas.
Harvick also has two wins in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Las Vegas. His first came in March 2004, when he started 11th, led 14 laps and raced his way to victory by 0.119 of a second over runner-up Kasey Kahne.
Harvick’s second Xfinity win at Las Vegas came in February 2010. Driving his own No. 33 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc., he started second, led 82 laps and beat runner-up Denny Hamlin to the finish line by 1.361 seconds. It was the sixth win for Harvick’s team in the Xfinity Series.
He is still searching for his first Sprint Cup pole at Las Vegas, but he did win the pole for the Xfinity race in 2007, when he turned a lap at 181.111 mph.
If the start of the 2016 Sprint Cup season is any indication, Harvick should have plenty of opportunities to celebrate this weekend. He kicked off the season with a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and followed that with a dominating performance last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he led a race-high 131 laps and scored his second consecutive top-10.
Harvick’s goal now is to score his first win of the 2016 campaign and defend his Kobalt 400 crown Sunday on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas tri-oval.