R. Mark Stiles

R. Mark Stiles

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From the Great Bridge section of Chesapeake, Virginia, R. Mark Stiles, the owner, news director & editor in chief of Catchfence,™ has been dedicated to auto racing news media coverage, journalism and reporting for almost 17-years. Stiles started in the industry in the fall of 1997 with two columns (Green Flag Black Flag and Breaking Loose) for AOL/Athlete Direct's NASCAR department (ADNASCAR). He later merged Green Flag Black Flag and became the news director with Ryan Seek's CatchFence in 1999. At the beginning of 2001, Stiles went full-time with Catchfence, served as an assistant to the now retired Voice of Daytona Int'l Speedway chief track announcer, Bill Bowser, and In 2005 he acquired full ownership of Catchfence.

Sep 04

Kevin Harvick 2014 NSCS Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Preview

Filed under Sprint Cup Series

2014 NSCS Driver Kevin Harvick (Budweiser) - Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images
2014 NSCS Driver Kevin Harvick (Budweiser) - Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS team travel to Richmond International Raceway (RIR) this weekend to compete in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race.

New Budweiser Bottle… Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS will feature a special look for Saturday night’s race at RIR. The car’s paint scheme reflects the primary packaging for Budweiser’s new reclosable aluminum bottles that debuted this week. The new red bottle is a modern interpretation of the classic Budweiser label that features the iconic Budweiser creed and Anheuser-Busch medallion. To download a rendering of the special paint scheme, visit the downloads section of the site.

Chassis Info…The No. 4 team will utilize chassis No. 846 in Saturday’s race. Harvick last raced this car at Pocono Raceway in August and earned a second-place finish. In addition, Harvick finished 39th in March at Bristol (accident) and 17th at Dover (flat tire) in this chassis.

Richmond Stats… Harvick has 27 NSCS starts at RIR. He has earned three wins (2006, 2011 and 2013), seven top fives and 16 top-10 finishes. Harvick also has an average start of 16.1 and average finish of 11.3 at the 0.75-mile track.

Chase Preparation Continues… The No. 4 Budweiser team tested at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday this week before traveling to Richmond. The test was in preparation for the Sylvania 300 on September 21, the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Double Duty… In addition to racing the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS this weekend, Harvick will compete in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the No. 5 Armour Vienna Sausages Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. ESPN2 will have live TV coverage at 7 p.m. ET and MRN Radio affiliates and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will provide the radio broadcast.

A Look Back… During the fall race last year at RIR, Harvick started 17th and finished 11th.

Track Your Bud… Anheuser-Busch’s Williamsburg, Virginia, brewery is located approximately 55 miles east of RIR. The facility opened in 1972 and produces around 8.5 million barrels per year. Senior Brewmaster Daniel Westmoreland leads a “Brewmaster’s Taste Panel” every day at 3 p.m. for a tasting of everything from incoming water and materials to in-process beers, finished beers and finally, the packaged product prior to shipment. In addition to the company’s flagship brands, Budweiser and Bud Light, the brewery also produces several other Anheuser-Busch products accounting for approximately 250 shipment trucks per day. Beer drinkers can use the Track Your Bud mobile app or visit to be taken on a guided tour of the creation of their individual beer by entering the Born On Date found on bottles and cans.

Harvick on Racing at Richmond International Raceway

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Richmond International Raceway? “I’ve been fortunate over my career to have had a lot of success at Richmond in the Nationwide and the Cup series and look forward to running another race there. We didn’t feel like we ran as well as we should have in the first race there this year and we’re looking forward to going back and hopefully having a good weekend and doing what we need to do on Saturday night.”

What makes the racing at Richmond International Raceway so good? “It’s just like a lot of the race tracks that wear the tires out. Any time you can wear the tires out and you add that on top of the short-track feel that Richmond has, that’s what we all ask for – to wear the tires out and race on a short track – and Richmond has all of that.”

Will you race guys fighting for the Chase bubble differently at Richmond International Raceway? “I think you want to be aware of who you are around. Obviously, you don’t want to be a storyline for a reason that you shouldn’t be. In the end, we’re there to try to win a race and do the best we can. Really the only thing that matters on that particular weekend is to go out and win the race. If we can do that – gain some extra bonus points to carry into the Chase – then that’s what we’ll do.”

As we look forward to the Chase, how do you approach the waning races and what is your strategy as we get closer to Chase time? “Well, our main strategy is to get the consistency that we need to go along with our fast cars and I think we’ve done a good job of that since the break. You have to be able to overcome things and rebound when something happens in the pits or on the track during the race.We’ve done a great job with that and obviously our cars have still been fast. We have to balance that consistency with winning races and we’ll be just fine.”

As we look at the beginning of the Chase and the new format, how much have you played around in your mind with the new format and looking at that as you guys prepare? “I think you have to prepare like you would for any other format. You just have to take it one week at a time. Obviously, we want to win and you want to advance to each round, but you have to take it one weekend at a time. We went to Chicago to test and we’re going to Loudon to test. Hopefully we can put some things to bed that we’ve had in our minds and get good setups for those to two race tracks. Really, it will be the first time we’ve tested all year. That’s encouraging and hopefully we’ll learn something from it.

You’ve been in multi-car teams before where some are in the Chase and some are out of the Chase. Does that change the team dynamics at all? “The team dynamic is obviously unique at this point of the year when you have two trying to get into the Chase and two already in the Chase. You have preparation for the Chicago race for two of the teams and you have the other two teams throwing everything they have at it to try to win the last race to get in. Everybody wants everybody in, but on our side we have to prepare for what we know is in front of us and do the best we can.”

For those drivers that have to get a win in order to get in to the Chase, what would your advice be to them as they come down to the last few laps at Richmond? “’Ask for forgiveness later’ would probably be the motto of most everybody that’s involved in that particular situation. I think as you look at everybody, they’re going to have that mentality of do whatever you have to do to try and get into the Chase and at that particular point for most of them it’s going to take a win to get in.”

Did winning early give your team a chance to prepare the cars a lot more for the Chase than people who aren’t in it already? “There are definitely two approaches within our own shop, let alone the rest of the teams. You have two cars trying to get into the Chase still that are basically throwing everything they have it to make something happen, and then you have the No. 41 and the No. 4 teams who are preparing for Chicago and you still want to win, but you have to make sure your best stuff is ready to go when you get to Chicago.”

Source: Elevation Group of Companies for Budweiser Racing

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