● After enduring a 65-race winless streak, Kevin Harvick is now undefeated in his last two NASCAR Cup Series starts. Harvick earned a breakthrough win Aug. 7 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and promptly followed it with another victory in the very next race last Sunday at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. It marked the eighth time in Harvick’s 22-year-and-counting Cup Series career that he has scored back-to-back wins. This Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in the Go Bowling! At The Glen, Harvick will attempt to do something he’s only done once before – win three straight Cup Series races. Harvick’s run of consecutive Cup Series wins are as follows…
1. Richmond on Sept. 9, 2006 and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Sept. 17, 2006
2. Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, on March 27, 2011 and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 3, 2011
3. Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 9, 2014 and Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16, 2014 (clinched championship)
4. Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, 2015 and Phoenix on March 15, 2015
5. Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 25, 2018 and Las Vegas on March 4, 2018 and Phoenix on March 11, 2018
6. Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway on May 6, 2018 and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on May 12, 2018
7. Michigan on Aug. 8, 2020 and Michigan on Aug. 9, 2020
8. Michigan on Aug. 7, 2022 and Richmond on Aug. 14, 2022
● The Go Bowling! At The Glen serves as the fifth of six road-course races on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The series’ first road-course race came March 27 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, where Kevin Harvick finished 11th. The second road-course race was June 12 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Harvick finished fourth. Next up was Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on July 3 where Harvick secured a 10th-place result. In the series’ most recent road-course race July 31 on the layout inside Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an accident relegated Harvick to a 33rd-place finish. The final road-course race after Watkins Glen comes on Oct. 9 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.
● Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, has made a total of 53 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses. He has 21 starts at Sonoma, 20 at Watkins Glen, four at the Charlotte Roval and two apiece at COTA, Road America, Indianapolis and the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He has scored two road-course wins – Watkins Glen in 2006 and Sonoma in 2017 – along with 11 top-fives and 26 top-10s with 195 laps led.
● When Harvick scored his first road-course victory at Watkins Glen in 2006, he had to beat his current team owner to do it. Tony Stewart – the “Stewart” in Stewart-Haas Racing – had won the past two NASCAR Cup Series races at The Glen and was poised to capture a third straight win as he was leading Harvick with four laps to go in the 90-lap race. But Harvick, who had already led once for 24 laps, passed Stewart on lap 87 as the two drag-raced down the frontstretch and into turn one. Harvick held onto the lead despite Stewart in his rearview mirror, earning a margin of victory of .892 of a second.
● Harvick’s second career road-course win also had a connection to Stewart. When Harvick won at Sonoma in 2017, he gave Stewart-Haas Racing its second straight victory at the 1.99-mile, 10-turn road course. The winner in 2016? None other than Stewart. It ended up being his 49th and final NASCAR Cup Series victory as Stewart retired from NASCAR racing at the conclusion of the season.
● Harvick’s last road-course win was his first in a Ford. When Harvick won at Sonoma in 2017, he became the 83rd different driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race behind the wheel of a Ford. Harvick has now won 25 Cup Series races with Ford, which makes him one of only 13 drivers to win 20 or more races with the manufacturer. He stands 10th on Ford’s all-time win list and is now only one win away from tying Brad Keselowski, Junior Johnson and Fred Lorenzen for ninth. Harvick has won more races driving a Mustang (15) than any other driver since the iconic muscle car became Ford’s flagship model in 2019.
● Harvick has four road-course wins outside of the NASCAR Cup Series. Two came in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007 and Watkins Glen in 2007 – and two were in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – Sonoma in 1998 and Sonoma in 2017. Harvick’s K&N Pro Series win at Sonoma in 1998 was three years before his Cup Series debut on Feb. 26, 2001 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham.
● Compared to the other road courses on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, Watkins Glen is a power track – less finesse, more get-on-the-gas-and-go. Here’s a turn-by-turn explanation of the 2.45-mile, seven-turn road course that is Watkins Glen.
Turn 1: Once drivers take the green flag, they are immediately faced with a downhill trek into the first corner. Carrying a ton of speed down the straightaway, this is a heavy braking zone in order to get the car slowed down enough to make the right-hand turn. This is one of the best opportunities to make a pass, and this turn can get chaotic very quickly, especially on restarts.
Turn 2: After making it through the first turn, the drivers hop on a short straight which leads them gradually uphill and into the second right-hand corner. This turn begins the ascent through the “esses” portion of the track.
Turn 3: Continuing the uphill climb through the esses, this sweeping left-hander can be treacherous as drivers begin to carry more speed up the slope.
Turn 4: This corner is the final portion of the esses. Drivers complete the uphill climb and the corner starts to level off, building up more speed as they enter the backstretch of the circuit.
Inner Loop, a.k.a. the “Bus Stop”: The backstretch allows the drivers to gain a ton of momentum, which leads them into another heavy braking zone and into the inner loop, better known as the “bus stop” section of the course. Hot on the brakes upon entry, this is a great place to overtake someone before making a quick series of right- and left-hand turns. Lots of slipping, sliding and spinning happens here.
Turn 5, a.k.a. the “Carousel”: This is a long, sweeping right-hander. Banked at 10 degrees, it is the steepest turn of the course, and it allows drivers to build up speed as they make their way onto the straightaway leading into turn six.
Turn 6: After gaining speed while traveling down the 2,040-foot chute, drivers are approached with another heavy braking zone at the entrance of this left-hand corner. Competitors use this turn to either make a quick pass or to set themselves up for a pass heading into the final corner.
Turn 7: Once they are through turn six, a short chute gives the drivers just enough time to adjust to make a good angle through the final corner. This is another chance to make a quality pass as the right-hand bend trickles drivers onto the frontstretch and down to the start-finish line.