Kevin Harvick Returns to Xfinity Series at Indianapolis

Kevin Harvick

Getty Kevin Harvick chats with his son Keelan prior to a race.

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion is pulling double-duty at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will return to the Xfinity Series on Saturday, Aug. 14, to gain experience prior to the first-ever Cup race at the Brickyard’s road course. He will partner with BJ McLeod Motorsports and sponsor Unibet.

According to a press release via “Jayski,” Harvick will be back in the No. 99 Ford at IMS, marking his third Xfinity Series start of the year. The veteran driver previously partnered with the team at Circuit of the Americas (May 22) and Road America (July 4), turning in top-10 finishes each time. Now he will strive to continue this trend while taking on the IMS road course for the first time in his career.

Harvick has made 348 starts in his Xfinity Series career, including 13 at road courses. Despite having very few starts on the courses with left and right turns, Harvick has managed to finish inside of the top 10 each time. He also has two wins — Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Aug. 4, 2007 and at Watkins Glen on Aug. 11 of the same year.

Harvick Will First Have To Qualify for the Race

Kevin Harvick

GettyKevin Harvick (front) practices at Road America on July 2.

Of course, the veteran driver will not simply be able to show up and fight for the win. Instead, he will have to kick off the weekend with a strong qualifying session. According to motorsports reporter Dustin Albino, There are 44 cars on the Xfinity Series entry list, which means that eight will not be able to compete in the race.

Fortunately for Harvick, he has performed admirably when tasked with turning in a qualifying lap. In two previous sessions in 2021, he has qualified inside of the top 20. He started 12th at COTA and 20th at Road America while driving for BJ McLeod Motorsports.

Harvick’s next opportunity will take place on Saturday, Aug. 14. He will join the Xfinity Series drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course at 10:05 a.m. ET. Harvick will have one lap to lock up a spot near the front of the starting order. Though he will contend with drivers that have previous experience at the road course, including AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, and Noah Gragson among others.

Multiple Drivers Will Compete in Both Races at IMS

Harvick will not be the only man who spends his weekend in multiple stock cars. Four others will actually join him in pulling double-duty. The list includes Austin Dillon, Allmendinger, and Cindric. Cody Ware, on the other hand, will make starts in the Cup Series and IndyCar Series races at IMS.

Dillon will make his second consecutive start for Our Motorsports at IMS, climbing into the No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro to gain more experience at the road course before fighting for one of the final playoff spots. He currently sits 15 points below teammate Tyler Reddick and the cut line, and he will need to make some moves to lock up his spot in the chase.

Cindric and Allmendinger will approach the weekend in a different sense. They both have spots secure in the Xfinity Series playoffs after combining to win six races. However, they will each approach the weekend with separate goals.

For Cindric, he will strive to gain more experience in the Cup Series before taking over the No. 2 Ford Mustang on a full-time basis in 2022. He has six previous starts at the top level, and he will use the seventh to better prepare for his future.

Allmendinger, on the other hand, has the goal of winning a race at Indianapolis. He told media members on Tuesday, Aug. 10, that he wants to reach Victory Lane at the iconic track and finally kiss the bricks after nearly a dozen previous attempts.

READ NEXT: Austin Cindric Sets Date for Final Cup Start of 2021

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