In a new season that will feature a new race format, points system and manufacturer for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), there is comfort in the consistency displayed by the colors adorning their new Ford Fusion for Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
While the make and model of the No. 4 may have changed as SHR collaborated with Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company starting in 2017, the familiar black-and-red livery of Jimmy John’s will return for its second season as the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500. Jimmy John’s, based in Champaign, Illinois and famous for its freaky fast delivery, made its Daytona 500 debut in 2016, when Harvick and the No. 4 team started ninth and finished fourth to start the season in “The Great American Race.”
While Jimmy John’s is on the hood for the Daytona 500, for the second consecutive year Busch Beer returns to Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Fusion for the Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona – the 75-lap, bonus-points-paying race that kicks off the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season Feb. 18. Busch is back on the hood, but the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford is updated with a fresh new look, giving a nod to new packaging the brand will debut in April.
Busch debuted its new packaging and advertising campaign featuring the return of the “BUSCHHHHH” can-crack sound with its first-ever Super Bowl commercial that aired during the FOX broadcast of the game Feb. 5.
Busch’s rich racing history began in 1978 when the brand sponsored the award presented to the pole winners of what was known then as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Busch went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997 and was the title sponsor of the stepping-stone division to the NASCAR Cup Series – currently known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series – from 1984 through 2007. The last Busch-sponsored driver prior to the company’s return in 2016 was Cale Yarborough and his iconic No. 11 car during the 1980 season.
Both Jimmy John’s and Busch have reason to be optimistic as Harvick and the No. 4 team head to Daytona.
As Harvick enters his 17th NASCAR Cup Series season and his fourth at SHR with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm, he is looking to score his second win in the Daytona 500. He won the famed Harley J. Earl trophy in 2007, when he beat Mark Martin to the Daytona 500 finish line by .020 of a second on the final green-white-checkered restart. It was the closest Daytona 500 finish since the start of computer scoring in 2003.
Harvick also has three wins in the Clash at Daytona – 2009, 2010 and 2013 – tying him for second-most with his team owner Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.
In the 2009 Clash at Daytona, Harvick survived an incident-filled race that saw a record eight caution periods and less than half the starting field make it to the checkered flag.
The following year, he joined Neil Bonnett, Ken Schrader and Stewart as the fourth driver in event history to win consecutive races, and he did so driving a backup car he was never able to practice, passing Greg Biffle with two laps remaining in a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR declared Harvick the winner when a multicar incident ended the race under caution.
In his 2013 win, Harvick led 40 of 75 laps, dominating the second and third segments en route to his third Clash at Daytona victory in five years.
If Harvick can add his name for a second time to the Harley J. Earl trophy Feb. 26 in the season-opening Daytona 500 at “The World Center of Racing,” he would be the 11th driver in NASCAR history to win the iconic event more than once. It would also put the No. 4 team in prime position to secure a berth in the 2017 playoffs as it attempts to win a second NASCAR Cup Series championship in four years.