Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania is affectionately known as the “Tricky Triangle” and, this weekend in the Pennsylvania 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will add to the fun with three of the team’s four Chevrolet SS racecars featuring primary sponsorship from Mobil 1 – “The Official Motor Oil of NASCAR.”
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, will share similar paint schemes to the Nos. 10 and 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS cars driven by teammates Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart, respectively. The slight differences will be in the color of wings on the front quarterpanels of the cars. Harvick’s No. 4 will have blue wings, Patrick’s No. 10 will have silver, and Stewart’s No. 14 will feature red.
While the cars will look similar, it is the fuel mileage, engine efficiency and reliability that Mobil 1 delivers under the hood that should prove to be the biggest advantage for each car and driver at the demanding three-turn, 2.5-mile triangle-shaped track. Mobil 1 touches every major moving part in SHR’s cars and that translates to better lap times.
The No. 4 team also will have to thrive in the face of adversity this weekend after Rodney Childers, crew chief of the No. 4 Chevrolet SS team for SHR, is serving a one-race suspension for violating NASCAR Rule Book Section 12.1; Section 10.11.3.4 for a lug nut not properly installed at the completion of the Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis. In addition, he has been fined $20,000 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.Dax Gerringer, race engineer with the No. 4 team, will serve as the interim crew chief at Pocono. Additionally, Greg Zipadelli, SHR’s vice president of competition, will be on hand to support Gerringer.
Harvick will work with Gerringer to try to win a Sprint Cup race that has proven to be elusive for Harvick over his Sprint Cup career.
Pocono is one of only four Sprint Cup racetracks where Harvick has yet to record a Sprint Cup win. Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the other three.
The Bakersfield, California native has run well at Pocono, scoring seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in his 31 career Sprint Cup starts there, but he’s yet to reach victory lane in NASCAR’s top series. He seems to be getting close, however, as he’s scored two top-five finishes and three top-10s while leading laps in his last four Sprint Cup starts at Pocono.
In August 2014, Harvick started sixth, led five laps and finished second to Dale Earnhardt Jr., by .228 of a second. Last June, he started fifth, led 39 laps and was runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. by 1.346 seconds.
Harvick does have a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Pocono, scoring the win from the pole position while driving for his own team on Aug. 7, 2011. He led 44 of 53 laps to beat Kyle Busch to the finish line by 1.140 seconds.
The Sprint Cup points leader would like nothing more than to score his first Sprint Cup win Sunday at Pocono. A win would be Harvick’s second of the 2016 season. He scored his first of the year in the season’s fourth race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Harvick clinched a top-30 points position with his ninth-place finish July 9 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. He needs an additional win to clinch his spot in the 2016 Chase field after race No. 26 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
While Harvick and the No. 4 team are virtually a lock to make the Chase field, gaining bonus points for additional wins is now their top priority through the next six races starting this weekend at Pocono.