This Week's Budweiser Chevrolet at Richmond International Raceway ... Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 320 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Federated Auto Parts 400. This former No. 33 racer was transformed into a No. 29 entry during the off-season and has been was utilized at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June (started 12th, finished eighth) and Martinsville Speedway in April (started second, finished 19th).
This weekend's event at Richmond International Raceway marks Harvick's 420th Sprint Cup Series career start. During the last 11 seasons, the 36-year-old driver has made 23 starts at the 0.75-mile tri-oval and has collected two wins (fall 2006 and fall 2011), six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. Harvick maintains a 16.7 average starting position, an average finishing position of 11.8, has completed 98.7 percent (9,086 of 9,302) of laps contested and is credited with 942 laps led.
Harvick has made 15 Sprint Cup Series starts at the Richmond, Va.-based facility since the inception of NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics in 2006. The Bakersfield, Calif., native has spent 5,525 Laps in the Top 15 and has made 488 Quality Passes, which ranks him first in each category. Harvick ranks second in Laps Led (895) and Fastest Drivers Early In a Run (119.474 mph).
The RCR veteran driver has earned a Driver Rating of 111.6 ranking him third amongst his fellow competitors. Harvick also ranks third in Average Running Position (7.404), Fastest Laps Run (421), Fastest on Restarts (117.458 mph) and Green Flag Speed (116.590 mph).
With 25 point-paying events in the books, Harvick clinched a position in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and ranks ninth in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. Throughout the 2012 season, Harvick has collected four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, completing 99.75 percent (6,691 of 6,674) of the laps contested.
In addition to competing in the Federated Auto Parts 400 Saturday evening, Harvick will also drive RCR's No. 33 Armour Vienna Sausages Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event Friday night. The race is scheduled to air live on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
After starting the 2011 Wonderful Pistachios 400 from the seventh position, Harvick edged out Carl Edwards by 0.139-seconds to take the checkered flag and the No. 29 team to Victory Lane at Richmond International Raceway, claiming his fourth win of the 2011 season.
Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem team captured a fifth-place finish, and clinched a spot in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, after leading 101 laps while battling a tight-handling condition in the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday night.
Kevin Harvick quotes:
You head into the race at Richmond International Raceway already locked into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. How does that change your outlook on the race this weekend?"It definitely takes the pressure off of us as a team. Knowing that we are already locked into the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup), we'll be able to race harder, take a few chances and direct our focus on getting that first win of the season."
You are the defending race winner, and both of your wins at Richmond International Raceway have come during the fall event. Does that make you feel more confident about your chances of getting your first win of the season this weekend? "Richmond (International Raceway) is a good track for me in general. Since I started racing, it seems I've been successful on the flatter-type race tracks; they really seem to fit my driving style.
On paper, this is one of our best tracks. Over the past two weeks our team has really been stepping up our game and avoiding big mistakes. As long as we stay focused, avoid mistakes and make the right calls, we should have a shot to get the Budweiser Chevrolet back to Victory Lane."
Do you approach Richmond International Speedway as more of a short track or a speedway? "It really is a little of both, but I look at it with a short-track mindset. There is more contact at Richmond (International Speedway) than you have at a bigger track. I think sometimes drivers use the short track as an excuse to beat and bang, but as tight as the racing is there, it's hard to not have incidental contact."
Source: Richard Childress Racing