A Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hat. It’s the symbol of success at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Along with a trophy, the race winner and his team each receive one to commemorate the victory.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has six of those Charlie 1 Horse hats. Five of them have come from wins in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition, and one came from his lone victory in the Camping World Truck Series. From dominant performances to late-race shootouts, it seems Harvick has won at Texas in every type of scenario.
But despite all his success there, there is one victory that has eluded Harvick thus far – a Sprint Cup win at Texas. Harvick would like nothing more than to complete his hat collection by adding to his impressive win list at Texas and finally putting a mark in the Sprint Cup column. Should he be able to accomplish that, Texas would become the sixth racetrack where Harvick has claimed victory in all three of NASCAR’s National Touring Series.
In 22 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas, Harvick has three top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. His best finish at the 1.5-mile oval is third, which came during the 2006 season.
Not only would a win this weekend at Texas complete Harvick’s hat collection, it would also move him ahead of his fellow 2014 race-winning competitors in pursuit of a berth in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. While Harvick’s win at Phoenix International Raceway in March virtually guarantees his No. 4 team a spot in the playoffs, he and his Rodney Childers-led crew want to score additional wins. As the 2014 season has seen six different winners in the first six races, there is plenty of reason to believe that the trend of single-race winners will likely continue. While there might be just a slim chance of seeing 16 race winners – the number of drivers who will qualify for the Chase – another win for Harvick would certainly cement his presence in the postseason.
Harvick knows the strength of SHR’s intermediate track program. He was in contention at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. At Las Vegas, he was leading the field and appeared to be on his way to another win until suffering a left-front wheel hub failure. He had a strong run going early at Fontana until a left-rear tire failure heavily damaged the left-rear quarter panel of his Jimmy John’s Chevrolet. After spending time on pit road to make repairs, Harvick restarted at the back of the field. He was able to race his way back to the front of the field before an unfortunate tire failure struck again. Lengthier repairs saw him fall off the lead lap and left him with a less-than-desired finish.
Heading to Texas fresh off a seventh-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway last weekend, the driver of the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet is looking forward to this weekend’s 500-miler and his chance to finally earn that Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hat for a Texas Sprint Cup win Sunday afternoon.