- Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is one of only three drivers to have started the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season with five top-10 finishes in the first six races. The other drivers are championship leader Denny Hamlin and second-place Kyle Larson. No driver has finished in the top-10 in every race this season.
- Harvick will venture outside his comfort zone this weekend when he makes his 41st career NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol on Sunday. Despite three wins, 13 top-fives, 20 top-10s and 1,138 laps led at the .533-mile oval since 2001, none of it matters this time around. Bristol’s concrete is now covered with dirt and those accolades have been buried. The Food City Dirt Race is here.
- Do you remember the Prelude to the Dream? Of course you do, because like Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, it was “kind of a big deal.” The charity dirt late model race that Tony Stewart hosted at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, from 2005 to 2012 was where many NASCAR Cup Series drivers got their first taste of dirt racing. Harvick was one of those drivers. He competed in four Preludes – 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 – and earned a best finish of seventh in 2008. But that wasn’t Harvick’s only experience on dirt. During this same timeframe, Harvick also raced an IMCA dirt modified on a handful of occasions, making one-off appearances at such tracks as Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, Macon (Ill.) Speedway and even in his hometown when he raced at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway.
- The last Prelude was in 2012, and taking its place at Eldora was the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series when in 2013 the Truck Series began a seven-year run at the half-mile, dirt oval. That inaugural race on July 24 was the first time in more than four decades a top NASCAR series had competed on dirt – the last being Sept. 30, 1970 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh where Richard Petty took the 117th of his record 200 career NASCAR Cup Series wins. Like Eldora, it was on a Wednesday night and contested on a half-mile oval. There was never a repeat winner in the Truck Series race at Eldora, and six of its seven winners are entered in the Food City Dirt Race – Austin Dillon (2013), Bubba Wallace (2014), Christopher Bell (2015), Kyle Larson (2016), Chase Briscoe (2018) and Stewart Friesen (2019). The lone winner not entered at Bristol is 2017 victor Matt Crafton.
- Speaking of Trucks, Harvick will climb into a Ford F-150 for Saturday’s Truck Series race at Bristol to further acclimate himself to Bristol’s Brave Dirt World. Harvick will race the No. 17 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford for David Gilliland Racing. It will be Harvick’s 124th career Truck Series start, but his first since Aug. 1, 2015 when he finished second in the Truck Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
— Stewart-Haas Racing —