NASCAR notebook: Harvick hoping for happy turnaround

Kevin Harvick (front) won in the spring at Dover in 2018.

DOVER — Kevin Harvick might be the defending winner of the spring race at Dover International Speedway, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be resting on his past success.

Harvick knows just how fickle the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series can be after he was collected in a wreck only 11 laps into last Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway and suffered a season-worst 38th-place finish.

However, Harvick has experienced success at Dover after moving over to Stewart-Haas Racing five seasons ago and is confident he will be able to rebound in Sunday’s Gander RV 400 on Dover’s high-banked, one-mile oval.

He led a series best 487 laps in the two 2018 races on the Monster Mile, winning in the spring and finishing sixth during the fall playoff race. He has six top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 36 starts – earning five top-10s since joining SHR in 2014.

In 2015, Harvick dominated and led 355 of the 400 laps to earn his first victory at Dover. During a five-race stretch from 2014-’16, he led 810 laps at the track – 56 percent of his 1,442-career total.

“I think as you look at Dover, if you look at our history, when I was at RCR (Richard Childress Racing), it was probably one of our worst racetracks,” Harvick said. “It’s been one of our best since I came to SHR in 2014. For me, the thing I love about Dover is just the fact that it’s hammer down and you’re up on top of the wheel for 400 laps there. It’s violent. Everything about Dover is violent. It’s fast.

“You can just be aggressive with the car and you have to get in there and wrestle that thing all day because it’s bumpy, slings you up out of the corners, dumps you down in the corners, and there’s just a lot going on. The car is bouncing around a lot and, with as rough as the cars have been just as the ride goes, we are in for a rough ride when we get to Dover this weekend. It’s one of my favorite racetracks to go and race on.”

Harvick crashed out in both of this season’s superspeedway races (in the season-opening Daytona 500 and at Talladega) but is still ranked fourth in the points standings thanks to top-10 finishes in seven of the other eight races. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang has four finishes of fourth-place this season.

Final Four: Xfinity Series drivers’ last chance to win the Dash 4 Cash

Four drivers in the Xfinity Series will be racing for a $100,000 bonus in Saturday’s Allied Steel Buildings 200 (1:30 p.m., FS1) at Dover International Speedway as the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program has reached its fourth and final round.

With it brings one last chance for Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Christopher Bell and Gray Gaulding to battle it out for the $100,00 bonus, and it all comes down to who finishes the highest at the high-speed, concrete, one-mile track.

Earlier this year, Christopher Bell (Bristol), Cole Custer (Richmond) and last weekend’s winner Tyler Reddick (Talladega) all fattened their bank accounts by winning the Dash 4 Cash and pocketing the $100,000 bonus.

Monster day at Dover

Today will mark the busiest day of NASCAR’s tripleheader weekend at Dover as drivers from all three touring series will be out on Dover’s racetrack at some point.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice will begin the day’s festivities at 11:05 a.m., followed by a Xfinity Series practice session at 12:05 p.m.

The drivers in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will qualify at 1:10 p.m. for the Jegs 200, which will take the green flag at 5 p.m. today.

The Xfinity Series will have its final practice at 2:30 p.m., followed by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at 3:40 p.m., which will mark the return of single-car qualifying attempts at the Monster Mile.

Reach staff writer Mike Finney at 302-741-8230 or mfinney@newszap.com.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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