Rush Truck Centers Racing: Kevin Harvick COTA NXS Advance

Kevin Harvick Notes of Interest


•  Kevin Harvick has 346 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in a career that began on Oct. 23, 1999 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. It was an inauspicious beginning for the then 23-year-old Harvick as he started 24th but finished 42nd after an engine failure just 34 laps into the 197-lap race. Twenty races later, however, Harvick scored the first of his 47 career Xfinity Series wins, leading 111 of 200 laps on July 29, 2000 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois (now known as World Wide Technology Raceway).


•  Harvick’s start in the Pit Boss 250 Saturday at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, will be his first Xfinity Series start since Sept. 1, 2018 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway – a span of nearly three years. Harvick ran a five-race Xfinity Series schedule that season and he kicked it off in fine style by winning on Feb. 24, 2018 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was his 47th and most recent Xfinity Series victory.


•  Of Harvick’s 346 career Xfinity Series starts, 11 have come on road courses. He has finished in the top-10 every time. In fact, his worst finish is merely a seventh-place drive at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Aug. 12, 2006, and in that race, Harvick still managed to lead 19 laps. He has nine top-five finishes highlighted by two wins – Aug. 4, 2007 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal and Aug. 11, 2007 at Watkins Glen.


•  Less than an hour south of COTA in New Braunfels, Texas, is the headquarters of Rush Truck Centers, the primary partner for Harvick in the Pit Boss 250 at COTA. With more than 100 vehicle centers strategically located in high-traffic areas on or near major highways, Rush Truck Centers is the premier service solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry and the United States’ largest network of truck and bus dealerships, representing industry-leading brands. The dealer group offers an integrated approach to customer needs – from vehicle sales to aftermarket parts, service and body shop operations, plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental, as well as alternate fuel systems and other vehicle technologies. 


Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 5 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang


How do you prepare to compete on a track you’ve never been to before?

“I’ve spent a lot of time on iRacing and we’ve had a couple of simulator dates to get prepared for this weekend, one just for basically learning the track and the second for actually trying to go fast enough to be competitive when you get on the racetrack. But the main reason we decided to run the Xfinity race at COTA, and a couple of the other new road courses, is that being on-track in real-time is the best experience you can get. There’s just nothing that can replace reality and being on the racetrack.”


The Xfinity Series cars are different from NASCAR Cup Series cars, so is running the Xfinity Series race at COTA more about just learning the track and what a big, heavy stock car will do on its layout?

“I’m a huge visual person. The experience I have in going to these racetracks for a long time – I can tell you every crack, every curve and every marker on the wall, and those are the things I want to have embedded in my mind before we get to Sunday. I want to make sure we’ve hit most of the curbs and know where you can take a risk making a pass and where to make time and how to get on and off of pit road in a live situation, because the practices are short. The Xfinity car is going to be the best tool, and just being able to make laps is the most important thing.”


You’ve got 346 career Xfinity starts, but only 18 since 2015 and none since 2018. Why the absence?

“In my conversations with Rodney (Childers, crew chief of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series), we’ve just not really had any strong arguments as to why we should run a particular race in the Xfinity Series because the cars have migrated and become so different from the Cup cars. But as we talked about street cars and Trans Am cars and this test and that test to prepare for COTA, we just settled in on trying to put together an Xfinity program. This started four months ago when we said this is what we wanted to do so we could go find a strong partner like we have in Rush Truck Centers and allow B.J. McLeod Motorsports to put a good car together. We wanted to get far out in front of it so that we could be properly prepared.”