Friday, Dec 01

Mobil 1 Racing: Kevin Harvick Charlotte Roval Advance

Notes of Interest


●  There are more than 4 million miles of road in the United States, but none embody the love of driving more than famed Route 66. Yet the small businesses that are the lifeblood of the Mother Road need help. Mobil 1 aims to inspire a journey on the open road, specifically by exploring the small businesses of Route 66 and meeting people along its 2,400-mile path from the shores of Lake Michigan to Los Angeles, right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Route 66 crosses the country, connecting not only east and west, but past and present. Mobil 1 aims to Keep Route 66 Kickin’ with its recently debuted Mobil 1 Muffler Man – an homage to the larger-than-life Muffler Men that dot Route 66. Molded in fiberglass and polyester resin on steel frames that stand 14- to 25-feet tall, Muffler Men became icons of the Route 66 landscape – square-jawed men with arms outstretched promoting the business on which they stood. Now, Mobil 1 is taking its Muffler Man to promote the small businesses of Route 66. His journey began on Aug. 25 at California’s Santa Monica Pier before he visited Seligman, Arizona, on Sept. 10 to sample Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In – home to a Guinness World Record 266 milkshake flavors. He then traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Oct. 1 to stand tall at Clowndog Hot Dog Parlor and oversee a corndog eating competition involving competitive eaters. The journey continues with a stop in Litchfield, Illinois, on Oct. 15 to witness the most dogs attending a film screening at Litchfield Skyview Drive-In before the Mobil 1 Muffler Man turns around and stops in at the Hi-Way Café in Vinita, Oklahoma. Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are helping Mobil 1 highlight its Keep Route 66 Kickin’ campaign with logos of each of these small businesses on the sides of Harvick’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang in Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.


●  The Bank of America Roval 400 serves as the sixth and final road-course race of the 2022 season. The series’ first road-course race came March 27 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, where 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. Then in the series’ road-course race July 31 on the layout inside Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an accident relegated Harvick to a 33rd-place finish. Harvick rebounded in the penultimate road-course race of the season Aug. 21 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with a 12th-place drive.


●  Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, has made a total of 54 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses. He has 21 starts at Sonoma, 21 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 previous 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.


●  Turning left and right. Going up and down through the gears. Hitting the apex of corners and, sometimes, riding the curb with such force that it puts the car on two wheels. It’s all a part of road-course racing, and it demands maximum performance from every part and piece on the racecar. Harvick has an added advantage with Mobil 1. Not only is the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand the primary sponsor of his No. 4 Ford Mustang at the Roval, Mobil 1 products are used throughout his racecar and they extend beyond just engine oil. Power steering fluid, transmission fluid, gear oil and driveline lubricants from Mobil 1 give Harvick a technical advantage over his counterparts by reducing friction, heat and rolling resistance. Mobil 1 is a sponsor whose technology makes Harvick’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang faster.


Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang 


Whether it’s a road course or a short track or any kind of track, you have an added advantage with Mobil 1 as a sponsor and technology partner. How advantageous has this relationship been?

“The oil in the engine, the oil in the transmission, the oil in the rear gear and the things Mobil 1 provides us from a lubricant standpoint, it all adds up in the form of quicker lap times. On an oval, we can pick up a tenth-and-a-half or two-tenths of a second. On a road course, Mobil 1 helps with preservation, because we beat the heck out of our racecars – hitting curbs and shifting all the time. The level of technology and commitment to the things that go in our car, every piece of it adds up to a pretty big chunk of speed and an incredible amount of reliability.”


When it comes to all the different road courses on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, where does the Roval stack up for you?

“The Roval’s been really good for us, and the road courses, in general, have been surprisingly good, as long as they’re dry. Joey Hand has played a huge part in helping us kind of guide the road-racing program. It’s helped me tremendously. I’ve been a lot better under braking, and a lot of that comes from confidence in the car, and that’s really been my weak point at the high-braking racetracks. The Roval’s not really one of those places, it’s more like Sonoma, so it’s been a really good place and I’m looking forward to going back there and continuing that trend.”


What do you like about the Roval?

“The Roval has really evolved into being one of our better racetracks. It’s very similar to Sonoma with a lot of partial throttle and light braking and a place that we’ve always been able to run really well at. I think the Roval isn’t a typical, well-laid-out racetrack. It’s more of a parking lot. It’s not as much of a parking lot as Indy, as it does have a lot of elevation changes and things like that, but it’s got some unique corners that aren’t your typical, free-flowing, nicely laid-out, natural road-course-type corners. I think the Roval has been intense and exciting over the last several years, and I think this car is going to be a little bit different just because it’s more of a road-course-style vehicle than we’ve driven there in the past. The Roval is aggressive with some of those tough, aggressive passes into some of those braking zones and some of those odd corners. It’s another of those racetracks that has its own characteristics.”


When it comes to road-course racing, do you feel that more of the race is in your hands?

“You do have more in your hands, for sure, especially when it comes to shifting and all the different things that could happen. But strategy and track position are a big part of that element too. It’s just like anything else, you’ve got to have the whole piece of the puzzle to put it all together.”


How do you approach road-course weekends?

“There’s just a lot more time that goes into a road-race week. You have to spend a lot of time in the simulator. You have to spend a lot of time with your previous notes and make sure you have the shift points and all the things that you remember as far as curbs you need to hit and things you don’t need to hit, where you need to be on the racetrack, tire falloff. You have to have everything memorized before you get there so that the first few laps are valuable because you’re still going to be learning the real-life tolerances of the grip level. And you’re going to have to blend that into also trying to do it in a short amount of time and get something out of those practices to give some feedback about the cars. It’s a different preparation week for the road courses than it is for anything else.”


A race weekend at Charlotte allows the industry to work close to home. You’re taking advantage of that by having a golf tournament on Monday that benefits your foundation. What does the Kevin Harvick Foundation do?

“The Kevin Harvick Foundation does a wide variety of things. We’ve gone in and rebuilt fields and areas behind Boys and Girls Clubs and high schools. The most recent project we’ve worked on is with the Charlotte Police Athletic League near our home in North Carolina. We’ve gone in and put a room with some racing simulators, and have helped them try to progress their basketball program. It’s a number of things we do like that throughout the year, and our charity golf tournament in Charlotte is one of our fundraisers.”


How satisfying is it to see success like that off the racetrack?

“There’s nothing better than helping kids, and I enjoy the kids who come to the racetrack. You can see the real enthusiasm for being at the race and how intrigued they are with everything that’s going on. Being able to give kids an opportunity that they otherwise wouldn’t have had is always something that we strive to do but, in the end, it’s the ones who take advantage of it to change the direction of what they want to do. Being able to have a platform to do that is very rewarding.”




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