Happy Harvick! Kevin Harvick ran 2-1 Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway for the last two practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 Race. Harvick put his No.4 Budweiser Chevrolet atop the charts in Saturday morning’s second practice and second to Jamie McMurray No.1 Liftmaster Chevrolet in ‘Happy Hour’ practice.
Harvick has the most Cup wins at PIR – five, including the Spring race this year. The Bakersfield native ran his first PIR race in February 2001.
McMurray led the most ‘Happy Hour’ laps, cruising around in first place at 137.106 mph/26.257seconds, 0.008 seconds ahead of Harvick. Third through fifth were Matt Kenseth No.20 Dollar General Toyota, Joey Logano No.22 Shell Pennzoil Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr No.88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet.
McMurray has an interesting livery on his car this weekend. On the hood are the names of the nineteen fallen firemen – the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who lost their lives last year fighting a devastating fire in Flagstaff Arizona. On the passenger side is the name of the president of one of McMurray’s key sponsors, Kennametal. Carlos Cardoso is a self-proclaimed car nut.
In morning practice, Brad Keselowski No.2 Miller Lite Ford was runnerup, only 0.003 seconds behind Harvick. Third through fifth were Kurt Busch No.41 Haas Automation Chevrolet – apparently not letting his domestic situation overshadow his driving focus; Earnhardt Jr, and Tony Stewart No.14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.
Pole sitter Denny Hamlin No.11 FedEx Ground Toyota tied for the most ‘Happy Hour’ laps – 50. Hamlin was tenth fastest. The other two busy ‘Happy Hour’ drivers were Rookie Kyle Larson No.42 Target Chevrolet in P13 and Brian Vickers No.55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota in P18.
To paraphrase a saying – The Couple that Stay Together Play Together. And so it is for Sprint Cup’s only female driver and her young boyfriend. Both race – Danica Patrick in No.10 Go Daddy Chevrolet driving for Stewart-Haas Racing; and Ricky Stenhouse Jr driving No.17 Cargill/Fry’s Ford with Roush-Fenway Racing.
The couple is parked together in the garage, and they went out for Happy Hour in tandem.