● “What’s in a name?” That’s what Juliet said about Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and it’s what NASCAR fans are likely saying about the name of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas – the Buschy McBusch Race 400. Back in February, Busch Beer opened a fan contest to name the May 2 race at Kansas, allowing fans to submit their ideas in exchange for a $1 donation to Farm Rescue, a non-profit supporting family farmers across the United States. After the field was narrowed down to four finalists – The Busch Latte 400, Nectar Of The Cobs 400, For The Farmers 400 and Buschy McBusch Race 400 – a fan vote resulted in the race being named the Buschy McBusch Race 400. Shakespeare’s legacy lives on.
● Busch Light, the beer brewed for America’s heartland and a longtime supporter of agricultural communities, has clad Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Mustang in a corn-themed, Farm Rescue paint scheme for Sunday’s race at Kansas. The design emulates Busch’s corn can, and purchasing a Busch or Busch Light corn can benefits Farm Rescue, with $1 of every purchase going back to the non-profit. Since its inception in 2005, Farm Rescue has helped nearly 700 family farms sustain operations in times of crisis. These efforts are made possible through a network of volunteers from across the United States. Busch has been a partner of Farm Rescue since early 2019.
● Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home. And for Harvick, home is an intermediate racetrack. With apologies to those in Harvick’s hometown of Bakersfield, California, the veteran racer has made the intermediate tracks that comprise the majority of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule his home. Of Harvick’s 58 career NASCAR Cup Series wins, 23 have come at intermediate-style racetracks. Kansas is a sweeping, D-shaped oval that has produced high speeds and daring, side-by-side racing since its debut in 2001. Harvick has competed at the track for every one of its Cup Series races – one of only three drivers to do so – and has amassed quite the history in his 30 career starts. Three wins, four second-place finishes, nine top-threes, 10 top-fives, 17 top-10s and 949 laps led make Harvick one of the most successful drivers in Kansas’ relatively young history. His average start is 13.5, his average finish is 9.3 and he has a lap completion rate of 98.6 percent.
● Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Kansas with three victories apiece. Only Harvick, Hamlin and Logano are still active, and only eight of the 15 Cup Series winners at Kansas are active. Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400 marks the 31st Cup Series race at Kansas.
● The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season has become the fourth different year in the Modern Era (1972-Present) with nine or more different winners in the first 10 races, joining 2003 (nine winners), 2000 (10 winners) and 1991 (nine winners). Will we see a 10th different winner Sunday at Kansas? There are eight former Cup Series winners entered in the Buschy McBusch Race 400 and five of them have yet to win this season – Harvick, Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman.
● Bet the farm on Harvick? Since joining the NASCAR Cup Series in 2001, Harvick has won in the first 10 races of a season in 12 of his 21 seasons (57.1%). Last season through the first 10 races he had already won twice – Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway – and in 2018 through the first 10 races he had won three times – Atlanta, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. But so far in 2021, Harvick is winless. However, with the trend of different race winners and with Kansas being one of Harvick’s best tracks statistically, perhaps it’s time for Harvick to be NASCAR’s newest victor. His three wins are tied for the series-most, his 10 top-fives are the most among active drivers, as are his 17 top-10s, and he leads every pre-race Loop Data category: Average Finish of 8.154 (series-best); Average Running Position of 8.691 (series-best): Driver Rating of 109.7 (series-best); 640 Fastest Laps Run (series-best); 5,613 Laps in the Top-15 (81.3 percent, series-most) and 997 Quality Passes (series-most).