Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Team Darlington Advance

Kevin Harvick

No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet

SHOWTIME Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway

CarParts.com
American Muscle

Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest

* Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team travel to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway this weekend for Saturday night’s SHOWTIME Southern 500. Known as the “Lady in Black” and the “Track Too Tough to Tame” because of its degree of difficulty, the uniquely configured, 1.366-mile track has proven to be very demanding since it opened in 1950.

. Harvick will be available to members of the media outside of the No. 29 Budweiser hauler in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage area at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 6.

* The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team will utilize chassis No. 304 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. In March Harvick raced his way back up to a sixth-place finish in this car at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway after getting spun out late in the race. Last season the team raced this car four times, scoring three top-five finishes: third at Richmond (5/1), fifth at New Hampshire (6/27) and third at Richmond (9/11).

. In 14 starts at Darlington Raceway, Harvick has earned two top-five and five top-10 finishes. He’s completed 93.5 percent (4,529 of 4,845) total laps and has led 16 laps at the 1.366-mile track. Harvick has an average starting position of 17.6 and an average finishing position of 19.1 at Darlington.

. While Darlington hasn’t been one of the tracks Harvick has excelled at in his Sprint Cup Series career, when it comes to loop data statistics, he lives up to his new nickname as “the closer.” Harvick is ranked as the No. 1 closer at Darlington, a statistic that indicates the positions improved in the last 10 percent of the laps in each race. He’s gained an average of 3.7 spots in the final 10 percent of the laps in the last six races at the track. He is also ranked 10th in green-flag passes (253).

. Last May at Darlington, a loose-handling No. 29 Chevrolet didn’t stop Harvick from advancing through the field after starting 35th in the Southern 500. After cracking the top 10 prior to a late-race caution, a two-tire pit call by crew chief Gil Martin afforded the Bakersfield, Calif., native the sixth-place restart spot that was protected over the final 20-plus laps.

. This week in Budweiser Racing history: In 1984, Darrell Waltrip raced the No. 11 Budweiser Chevrolet to his second win of the season in the TranSouth 500 at Darlington. He started the race from ninth position and led 251 of 367 laps before taking the checkered flag 1.99 seconds ahead of Terry Labonte. Waltrip went on to score a total of seven wins in that 30-race season. Eight years later, Bill Elliott put the No. 11 Budweiser car back in Victory Lane at Darlington, winning the 1992 TranSouth 400. Elliott also won the 1994 Southern 500 in the No. 11 Budweiser ride.

* For the online version of the Budweiser Racing media guide, please visit http://www.budracingmedia.com. * Become a fan of Budweiser on Facebook. Exclusive information, photos and video footage of Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team can be found on the Budweiser Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/Budweiser. * Follow along each weekend with Harvick and the team on Twitter. Check out @KevinHarvick for behind-the-scenes information straight from the driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet. Get live updates from the track each weekend from @Black29Car, the PR team for Harvick. Also, follow @RCRracing and @RCR29KHarvick for additional information about the Richard Childress Racing organization.

Kevin Harvick discusses racing at Darlington Raceway:

What makes racing at Darlington such a challenge for the drivers and teams? “The track was originally not designed for the cars to be running as fast as they are today. The track’s very narrow and you carry a lot of speed. From a driver’s standpoint, it’s very challenging just to keep the car off the wall, but it’s also a lot of fun to drive, too.”

Talk about driving a lap around Darlington. “Well, any lap around Darlington is a lap where you have to be paying attention to what’s going on because you can get yourself in trouble at any point on the race track. You carry a lot of speed into Turn 1 and you run right up the banking right up next to the wall and right back to the throttle. As you come back down the hill you might have to breathe the throttle a little bit, but it’s a lot of fun coming out of Turn 2 as it kind of shoots you down the backstretch and really (Turns) 3 and 4 are probably the hardest because you carry so much speed off of (Turn) 2 into (Turn) 3 and the line kind of moves around a bit there. Probably the easiest place to get in the wall, well it’s pretty easy to get in the wall anywhere, but definitely the easiest place to get into the wall is the middle of (Turns) 3 and 4.”

Do you remember getting your first Darlington stripe? “I don’t. I’ve had so many of them that they all kind of seem to run together now.”

What would it mean to add your name to the list of Darlington winners? “It’d be pretty awesome just for the fact that everyone knows the significance of the Southern 500 and to win at Darlington is something as a driver that you want to check off your checklist when you have the opportunity to. We’ve been close at Darlington, but we’ve just got to put that check in the right box.”

Harvick’s Career Record at Darlington Raceway:

Darlington Raceway Track Facts

Track Length: 1.366 miles

Race Length: 367 laps/501.3 miles

Grandstand Seating Capacity: 60,000

First Race: Sept. 4, 1950

Banking in Turns 1 & 2: 25 degrees

Banking in Turns 3 & 4: 23 degrees

Banking on Straights: 6 degrees

Frontstretch: 1,229 feet

Backstretch: 1,229 feet

TV: FOX, 7:30 p.m. EDT

Radio: MRN Radio, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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