With the idea of the two-car dance coming into play at the restrictor plate track, it’s no surprise that some teams are putting their forces together to make sure that they’ve got it set up.
[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”227″][/media-credit]One of those teams is Kevin Harvick Incorporated as they’ll be entering four cars instead of their typical three for a restrictor plate.
Driving the No. 2 Chevrolet will be Elliott Sadler, who has driven the car all year long.
“At Daytona, it’s either feast of famine for me,” Sadler said. “We had a really fast car there in February, but got caught up in a wreck early and finished 38th. Of course, my team owner Kevin Harvick will be in another OneMain Financial car, so I’m sure that we will find each other and help each other throughout the whole race. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to help OneMain Financial to celebrate their brand launch this weekend, and I hope that we can bring home a victory for everyone! Daytona is a special place to a lot of people because it is the France family’s birthplace and where the roots of NASCAR started. I always look forward to going down there on the Fourth of July weekend. It’s a special race that kind of marks the middle of the season. When you leave Daytona, you have a feeling of how the rest of the season will go. It’s going to be a great race.”
The Emporia, Virgina native has had the least success of the group at Daytona as he has competed in the Nationwide Series there four times with a best finish of 15th in 1997. Though he’s not inexperienced by any means following 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona with four top-fives and nine top-10s.
Sadler is hoping to dance with his experienced teammates to jump from second to first in points as he sits second, five points behind Reed Sorenson.
Driving the No. 4 will be team owner Kevin Harvick, who is looking for more success in his own equipment. Harvick has captured two poles, one victory, 12 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in his previous 17 starts at the 2.5-mile oval.
“It’s is going to be interesting heading into the race at Daytona because there are so many factors that play into your success at this track,” he said. “Racing Daytona in July is a lot different than racing there in February. The track gets hot and slick and the handling characteristics become exaggerated. With the new racing surface you also need a good drafting partner. KHI is fielding four cars for this race, so finding a partner shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m excited about our chances of success at this race, not only as a driver but as a team owner.”
Driving the No. 9 will be Tony Stewart, who returns back to the seat of a Kevin Harvick Incorporated car after his win back in February at Daytona.
“It’s a small team size-wise,” Stewart said. “But as far as equipment and everything, Kevin and DeLana [Harvick] prepare cars that are some of the best cars in the Nationwide Series.”
Stewart is the secret to KHI’s Daytona success it may seem as he has scored them all four of their wins.
“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,” he added. “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.”
Lastly, driving the No. 33 will be Clint Bowyer, who has also ran some races in the past with KHI. Back in February, it was Bowyer who finished second to Stewart’s win, only by the third closest margin in the series at 0.007 seconds.
“Daytona is what NASCAR is all about,” he said. “It started there, and it means so much to be able to go and compete and it’s just such an awesome race track. We were so close to winning in February with this No. 33 KHI team. We had some tough breaks and got involved in accidents while running up front at Talladega [Superspeedway] in April, and then at Dover [International Speedway] in May. I’m looking forward to being back with the KHI guys, and I really want to get this Menards Chevy in victory lane and get another win at Daytona.”
Bowyer is not a driver to underestimate as he has eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes and won the race in 2009 after leading 48 laps for Richard Childress Racing.
Kevin Harvick Incorporated’s success at Daytona International Speedway is impressive as since 2005, KHI has four wins, two poles, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. So as the race nears conclusion, don’t be surprised if one of the two KHI pairs are fighting their way for the lead.