NASCAR notebook: Earnhardt says Harvick’s contribution goes far beyond dominant driving

Keselowski roots for Blaney from afar; Roush Fenway announces sponsor extension for Stenhouse.

NASCAR notebook: Earnhardt says Harvick’s contribution goes far beyond dominant driving
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Blaney, Penske Racing

Yes, Kevin Harvick made mincemeat of the rest of the field in Saturday night’s Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

And, yes, Harvick has crafted a remarkable record in 11 NASCAR Nationwide Series appearances for JR Motorsports this season. 

But according to team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., Harvick’s contribution to the organization goes far beyond his performance on the track. 

“He’s brought a lot to our team,” Earnhardt said Saturday night, while Harvick celebrated in Victory Lane. “We’ve said it every time we’ve had the opportunity to talk about it, how much he’s brought to the team in terms of performance and speed. He continues to help us improve our equipment and our cars, and that raises the competitiveness of the whole company. 

“He’s not only a great driver—he gets in there and drives the heck out of it—but he raises the whole company, and that’s pretty unique. You don’t really get that in a lot of race car drivers. Some guys are really, really good, and they can get the job done behind the wheel, but it’s rare where you find a driver that makes a huge impact on the entire company and the business model, and Kevin definitely does that with us.”

A a former NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series owner himself, Harvick has shared insights that have made a difference in the way JR Motorsports operates and competes. 

Perhaps that’s why the company’s two full-time drivers, Chase Elliott and Regan Smith, are 1-2 in the series standings right now.

Rooting from afar

Brad Keselowski spent Sunday afternoon in his motor coach at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he wasn’t relaxing. 

Keselowski was watching the TV broadcast of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with particular interest, given that his Brad Keselowski Racing driver, Ryan Blaney, was locked in a high-intensity duel for the win against German Quiroga. 

Blaney edged in front of Quiroga at the finish line to win the dramatic battle, giving the team its second straight victory, after Keselowski himself scored his inaugural triumph on Aug. 21 at Bristol. 

“It was just great racing,” Keselowski said of Blaney’s victory. “Ryan and German put on an awesome show and a clinic of what racing should be. I’m just really proud of Ryan to get back on his feet there (after two straight finishes outside the top 10) and get a win. 

“I wouldn’t have thought his first win of the year would have come on a road course, but that makes it even more exciting. They certainly have some momentum back to make a run for this championship—and they’re poised to strike.” 

After the victory, Blaney is third in the series standings, just 13 points behind leader Johnny Sauter.

Bank on this sponsorship

During a press conference scheduled, appropriately, for 3:53 p.m. at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Roush Fenway Racing announced a three-year extension of its partnership with Fifth Third Bank as a primary sponsor on Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 17 Ford. 

“Fifth Third plays a huge role in our organization’s business side, to let the competition side do their thing, and they also do a lot for me on my personal finances side,” said Stenhouse, who hoped he would have a chance to use one of the bank’s services after Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta. 

“Hopefully, by the end of the night, we can use the Fifth Third mobile banking to deposit a big check. That would be nice.”

NASCAR Wire Service, Reid Spencer 

shares
comments
Before the Show

Previous article

Before the Show

Next article

Kasey Kahne wins his way into Chase in thrilling finish at Atlanta

Kasey Kahne wins his way into Chase in thrilling finish at Atlanta
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020