Notes of Interest
● Busch’s Latest Product Unleashed: Kevin Harvick will drive the No. 4 Busch Dog Brew Ford Mustang this Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Busch Dog Brew is exactly what it sounds like – a brew for dogs – but this brew is made from bone broth crafted specifically for man’s best friend. Made with vegetables, herbs, spices, water, and pork broth, Busch Dog Brew provides all tail-waggers with a nutritious and tasty snack that helps to promote a healthy digestive system. Bone broth is also a great way for dogs who struggle to eat solid food get all of their extra nutrients. Your four-legged friend will pawsitively love it. Dog Brew is sold only over e-commerce, but ships everywhere in the United States. You can purchase or find additional information at www.Busch.com/DogBrew.
● Alpha Dog: When Harvick takes the green flag for the GEICO 500 Sunday at Talladega, he will become the all-time leader in starts across NASCAR’s top-three series – Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck. Harvick is currently tied with Joe Nemechek with 1,197 total starts. Harvick has 727 Cup Series starts, 346 Xfinity Series starts and 125 Truck Series starts while Nemechek has 674 Cup Series starts, 453 Xfinity Series starts and 70 Truck Series starts. Last year, the duo surpassed the previous all-time leader – NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time Cup Series champion Richard Petty, who has 1,185 total starts. The next active driver on the list is Kyle Busch with 1,094 total starts.
● Dogfight: Harvick came out the victor in a dogfight of a NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega on April 25, 2010. There were an incredible 88 lead changes in the 200-lap race around the 2.66-mile oval and three massive accidents that collected a total of 24 cars. Harvick kept his car intact throughout each bout of calamity and despite leading only two laps, the second lap led was the one that counted most. Harvick got underneath race leader Jamie McMurray in the track’s tri-oval to sweep past McMurray and take the win by just .011 of a second. It was just the 12th of Harvick’s 58 career Cup Series wins.
● Doggonit: In Harvick’s previous race at Talladega last October, Harvick started fifth and led twice for two laps and was poised to contend for another Talladega victory until an accident on the penultimate lap sent him to a 20th-place finish.
● Dog Walking at ‘Dega: Back in October 2008, Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) dog-walked the field at Talladega. The team qualified 1-2-3-4 for the first time in its history. SHR drivers then led 155 of the race’s 193 laps (80.3 percent), including the last lap by Aric Almirola who delivered SHR’s milestone 50th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory and the organization’s 11th win of 2018.
Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Dog Brew Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
Describe the intensity of racing at Talladega.
“You have to be aggressive just for the fact that if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you’re not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but with this rules package and the way things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”
Blocking seems to be a necessary evil at Talladega. What’s your take?
“I don’t like blocking, but it’s a necessity. Blocking is something that has evolved over the years as people have figured out trying to time the runs, and people have figured out when you can block and when you can’t. It’s just a matter of putting yourself in a position where you think you’re making the right move, and sometimes you make the wrong move. It’s just a game of inches. It just really is a high-speed chess match that you have at 200 mph – and this week will be absolutely no different. There will be a big crash. There will be mistakes made. There will be pit errors made. There will be strategy played. But I can promise you we’re all going to race in a pack – and that’s the way Talladega should be.”
What are your expectations for Talladega?
“For me, it’s been a destruction derby over the last couple of years. We’ve run really well at Talladega, but that’s just kind of the phases you go through when you go to Talladega. I’m doing worse than 50-50 on whether you crash or finish the last few years, but it’s one of those places where you want to race up front and race hard all day because you have to try to win stages. I believe you have better odds at the front of the pack when it comes to staying out of a wreck if you can keep that track position all day. You’re going to race in a pack – three-wide at times – and you’re going to get pushed and have to push at times. You just never know what’s going to happen because Talladega is its own animal. It’s hard to finish a race there. As we’ve seen over the past however many years, you try to put yourself in the right position and hope you have a little bit of luck on your side that particular day. I know our Busch Dog Brew Ford Mustang will be fast enough to contend for the win, but you just have to get to the finish.”
Talladega and its sister track, Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, are often mentioned in the same breath, but there are differences between the two venues. What are they?
“Talladega is a lot bigger. It’s a lot wider. The track itself is bigger. The shape of Talladega is different than Daytona because of the track being wider and the way the tri-oval is shaped. The start-finish line is almost all the way down into turn one, which seems to change some of the outcomes of the finishes because you have to go all the way down the front straightaway before you get to the finish line. Talladega’s tri-oval is a little bit different than Daytona’s. That bottom groove has a little less banking than the rest of the racetrack, so it’s almost like you’re dipping down into a hole. Sometimes you see guys get loose down into the tri-oval and spin out, so it ends up being where some of the wrecks are caused. It’s really hard to push through that tri-oval, especially as you’re heading down into that bottom lane. It’s tough to know exactly where you need to be at the end of the race. I’ve only won one of them there. In that particular race, we were tandem racing and I was second coming into the tri-oval and was able to get past Jamie McMurray. But I would still rather be leading and in control. If I’ve made it to the white flag, then I’ve made it a lot farther than I’ve made it lately, so it’s a chess match all day. You have to have a little bit of luck on your side, but you can also put yourself in a good position by making the right moves, having a good day on pit road, and not making any mistakes.”
You have a rookie teammate and drafting partner in Chase Briscoe. What kind of advice or encouragement do you have for him as he prepares for his first NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega?
“It’s a dog-eat-dog world, that’s what I tell him all the time, and you have to make sure your voice is a part of the equation. You get to this level, you’ve shown that you can do it, you’ve raced a long time, and you understand the things that you need to do. Jumping in a new car your rookie year and not having any practice is a tough scenario. Being a part of that equation to solve that problem is going to be very rewarding for him as he goes forward, and it’s also going to be great experience. Chase is one of the best humans that you’ll ever meet. I think his personality is good for people and it’s good for teams.”