Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is considered a favorite nearly every time he visits Phoenix International Raceway, but Sunday’s Camping World 500k Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race marks a new beginning behind the wheel of a Ford Fusion for the first time at the mile oval in the desert.
Harvick has an unmatched and impressive list of accomplishments at Phoenix headed by a series-high eight NASCAR Cup Series wins, including five of the last seven and six of the last nine. He is the only Cup Series driver to win four consecutive races at Phoenix. He won the November 2013 race, swept the 2014 races and won in March 2015 before ending the streak with a second-place finish in November 2015. Only five drivers have won consecutive Cup Series races at Phoenix and Harvick is the only driver to win consecutive races twice. He swept both races in 2006 to go with his back-to-back wins in 2014.
According to NASCAR loop data, Harvick is the only driver to score a perfect 150.0 driver rating on three different occasions at Phoenix. Harvick scored his first perfect rating at the mile oval in November 2006, when he started second and led 252 of 312 laps on his way to victory lane. He accomplished the feat a second time by winning the November 2014 race, which he started third and led 264 of 312 laps. His third perfect score came in March 2015, when he won the pole, led 224 of 312 laps and beat Jamie McMurray to the finish line by 1.153 seconds.
Harvick scored his first and only Phoenix pole in NASCAR Cup Series competition in March 2015 with a lap of 25.577 seconds at 140.751 mph.
In addition to the Cup Series, Harvick has five other NASCAR touring series wins – four in the Camping World Truck Series and one in the Xfinity Series. The 2014 Cup Series champion won the Truck Series events at Phoenix in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009. He scored his lone Xfinity win at Phoenix in 2006.
Luckily for Harvick and the No. 4 Jimmy John’s team, they were able to participate in the NASCAR test session at Phoenix on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. It was the team’s first outing with the No. 4 Ford Fusion and allowed valuable track time in preparation for this weekend’s event.
Harvick and the Jimmy John’s team hope to return to their winning ways at Phoenix this Sunday and secure their position in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. A win Sunday would be their first of the 2017 campaign and would extend Harvick’s series-best win total at Phoenix.