A victory in Saturday nightâ€™s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway would move Kevin Harvick closer to a milestone heâ€™s hoping to achieve.
Harvick has won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at 21 of the current 23 tracks on the schedule. Kentucky and Pocono Raceway are the only two that remain where Harvick hasnâ€™t rolled into Victory Lane.
Kyle Busch became the first driver to win at all active tracks on the schedule when he was victorious at Charlotte back in May. Harvick would love to join Busch in reaching that impressive mark with Saturday nightâ€™s annual trip to Kentucky his next chance to move closer.
â€œWeâ€™ve actually run really well there the last couple of years and led a lot of laps,â€� said Harvick, who led 128 of 267 laps in the 2016 edition of the race only to come up short of winning because of fuel strategy.
â€œIâ€™m not sure it is any one thing that makes Kentucky challenging to be honest, just for the fact that theyâ€™ve recently repaved it and it really is a unique track that is hard to get everything just right.â€�
Although Saturdayâ€™s race will be run under the lights at Kentucky, hot weather is predicted for the entire weekend in the Bluegrass State. It will mark the third straight week the series will compete in extreme summer heat conditions on the heels of Chicagoland and Daytona.
While Harvick acknowledges the weather being a factor, heâ€™s also aware there will be other variable and challenges in Saturdayâ€™s 400-mile event.
â€œKentucky is always a hot race and weâ€™ve had some weather there over the last few years, but to be honest, itâ€™s the same for everyone. It really just comes down to preparation for the driver and the team,â€� he said. â€œAs a driver I have to take care of myself to make sure Iâ€™m ready. The team has to focus on the doing the best they can to make it as bearable in the car.
â€œIt also makes it tough on the handling of the car, especially on a new racing surface. Itâ€™s going to be very slick and hard to get the setup just right, but Iâ€™m confident in my team and the preparation they put into this race.â€�