SUMMER HEAT: After announcing a multi-year partnership agreement with Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) in February, mixed martial arts (MMA) apparel brand, TapouT is eager to hit the track this weekend for their second NASCAR Nationwide Series event this season at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 TapouT Chevrolet Impala for the Subway Jalapeno 250 presented by Coca-Cola at the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval.
DAYTONA SUCCESS: When you put KHI and Daytona together it only means one thing, success. Team owners Kevin and DeLana Harvick earned their first Nationwide Series victory at Daytona in 2005 with the help of Stewart. In his six starts behind the wheel of a KHI Chevrolet, Stewart has earned all four of the organization's Daytona wins. In addition to their four wins KHI has 21 starts at the superspeedway, two poles, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 9 KHI team will utilize chassis No. 065 this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. This is the same chassis Stewart drove to victory lane at Daytona in February. Most recently this chassis competed at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway with Harvick behind the wheel. After charging to the front of the field and leading four laps, Harvick experienced engine issues which caused the team to retire early from the race and walk away with a 39th-place finish.
THOUGHTS FROM THE CREW CHIEF: Bruce Cook
How do you feel heading into Daytona being the defending race winner, and returning with Stewart? "It's hard to head into Daytona and not feel anxious. There is always the inevitable 'big one,' and you never know if you are going to fall victim to that. I have a lot of confidence in our team here at KHI, and I believe the equipment that we are bringing for Tony will allow him to run out front. I don't know if there is a better combination for success than heading back with the winning chassis and driver. We'll have three great teammates with us there to draft with, and I hope that will allow us to be up front at the end."
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Tony Stewart
Four of your 16 career wins at Daytona have come with KHI. Can you talk about their preparation leading into that race? "It's a small team size-wise, but as far as equipment and everything, Kevin and DeLana [Harvick] prepare cars that are some of the best cars in the Nationwide Series."
A lot of your success at Daytona in the Nationwide Series has been with KHI. Any reason for that in particular, or is it a combination of a lot of things? "I think it's because of the attention to detail that Kevin and DeLana put into their racecars. You see it in their Truck Series program. You see it in their Nationwide Series program. They just do everything first class. I always have the confidence when I get in one of their cars that I'm in just as competitive a car as I could be with any other organization out there. They're first class, and that's the kind of group that you want to be with when you do a one-off race like this. You have that confidence. You don't worry about anything. You know that they're giving you the best equipment that you can get in that series. It's always fun. It's fun to drive for one of your good friends like Kevin and DeLana, but at the same time knowing that they've got really good racecars just tops it all off."