Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is looking to reclaim the Sprint Cup Series points lead Saturday in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Harvick held the lead in the Sprint Cup standings for 13 consecutive weeks before falling to second following a 32nd-place finish two weekends ago at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He now sits nine markers back of points leader Brad Keselowski heading into Saturday night’s race at Bristol.
The best news for Harvick coming into this weekend may be crew chief Rodney Childers’ record at the .533-mile bullring. He’s led four different Sprint Cup drivers to top-five finishes at Bristol. In addition to Harvick’s runner-up finish in August 2015, Childers has led Scott Riggs, David Reutimann and Brian Vickers to top-five finishes at the track affectionately known as “Thunder Valley.” Childers led Riggs to a fourth-place finish in August 2006 while both worked for Evernham Motorsports. While at Michael Waltrip Racing, Childers led Reutimann to a runner-up finish in August 2010 and Brian Vickers to a fifth-place finish in March 2012, as well as fourth-place finishes in August 2012 and 2013.
It also helps that Harvick is no stranger to victory lane at Bristol. In fact, he has won there in each of NASCAR’s three touring series.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion won at Bristol in NASCAR’s top series in April 2005, when he started 13th and led 109 of 500 laps and beat Elliott Sadler to the finish line by 4.652 seconds. He has five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins there with his most recent coming in March 2009, when he started 13th and led 46 laps to beat runner-up Carl Edwards by .798 of a second. He also visited Bristol’s victory lane in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in August 2011, when he started sixth, led 103 of 200 laps and beat Johnny Sauter by .434 of a second.
Harvick would like to add his second Sprint Cup win of the year at Bristol Saturday night. He scored his first in the season’s fourth race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Harvick clinched his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoff field with his fourth-place finish Aug. 1 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, guaranteeing a top-30 finish in the driver points after race No. 26 Sept. 12 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. He only needs to attempt to qualify for the remaining four regular-season Sprint Cup events to make it official.
While Harvick and the No. 4 team are locked into the Chase field by points and a win, gaining bonus points for additional wins is now their top priority through the next four events, starting this weekend at Bristol.