Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is heading to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 with a three-point advantage over the fifth-place driver in the playoff standings with two races remaining in the Round of 8.
When Harvick advanced to the Round of 8 two weekends ago, he took a good look at the AAA Texas 500 as perhaps his best chance to score the maximum amount of points and reach victory lane to automatically advance to the winner-take-all Championship 4. What makes that most interesting is that the 1.5-mile Texas oval is one of only three racetracks where Harvick has yet to record a Cup Series victory.
The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion’s optimism stems from the No. 4 team’s performance on the 1.5-mile tracks in recent history. In the last 10 Cup Series races on 1.5-mile tracks, Harvick has scored the second-most points of any driver by collecting five top-fives and nine top-10s in those 10 races, as well as leading 748 laps – second most of any driver over that span.
While Harvick is still looking for his first Cup Series win at Texas, he has had success there in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Harvick has five wins and two poles at Texas in the Xfinity Series. He’s also scored 11 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and led 779 laps. He has an average starting position of 7.4 and finish of 7.3.
In the Truck Series, Harvick has one Texas victory, which came in 2011. He also has two top-fives and led 64 laps in four starts.
In 29 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas, Harvick has one pole, seven top-five finishes and 17 top-10s with an average finish of 11.7.
While he is still chasing that elusive first Cup Series win at Texas, Harvick’s recent starts there show he may be close to finally breaking through. He has finished in the top-10 in nine of his last 11 races at Texas, including six in a row dating back to November 2014, and he’s led 187 laps in his last six starts. Harvick won his lone Cup Series pole at Texas in April with a lap of 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph in the final round of qualifying.
Texas Motor Speedway laid an entirely new asphalt surface prior to the start of the season. The one constant with most repaved racetracks in recent history is that the racing typically changes significantly.
With just two races remaining to secure a spot in the Championship 4, Harvick got off to a strong start with a fifth-place finish last weekend in Martinsville and is hoping to continue his strong showing Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick is looking to win a brand new cowboy hat – traditionally awarded to Texas winners – and, most importantly, secure his position in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot at his second NASCAR Cup Series championship.