Harvick to drive at least 12 NNS races in 2014 for JR Motorsports

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An interesting piece of news this morning from the NASCAR Nationwide Series side of things: Kevin Harvick will be suiting up for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports for at least 12 NNS events next season.

The 2014 NNS schedule for Harvick – who currently sits third in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – has yet to be finalized. But what is known is that four of his runs with JRM will feature primary sponsorship from one of his more familiar backers, Hunt Brothers Pizza.

The pizza company will serve as primary sponsor for Harvick at Bristol, Charlotte and both races at Texas, and will receive associate placement in the other races.

Harvick will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet, which is being planned to feature other drivers at various points during next season. The final driver roster for the No. 5 car is to be determined, but in the meantime, Dale Jr. is happy to have a two-time Nationwide Series champion in his JRM stable.

“This is pretty cool to have Kevin a part of our team,” he said in a statement. “I’ve known him for a long time. He’s an incredible racer. He will be a huge asset to JR Motorsports, our sponsors and our fans. I’m grateful that he wants to drive our cars, and I’m grateful that Hunt Brothers Pizza is committed to Kevin and our race program. We’re happy to have them.”

Harvick has won 40 races in his NNS career, making him third all-time on the series’ wins list.

The welcome wagon on Twitter is already out for Harvick, as JR Motorsports regular Regan Smith has chimed in this morning:

Additionally, Kevin’s wife, DeLana, is looking forward to her husband’s upcoming work with JRM:

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Sebastien Bourdais

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. A dream start occurred for Sebastien Bourdais and the Dale Coyne Racing team upon their reunion, followed by a nightmare in Indianapolis with a huge crash in qualifying, and ended with a rapid recovery to build confidence for 2018.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda

  • 2016: 14th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 3rd, 1 Podium, 3 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 24 Laps Led, 11.9 Avg. Start, 11.2 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 21st Place (8 Starts), 1 Win, Best Start 6th, 2 Podiums, 2 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 74 Laps Led, 12.4 Avg. Start, 11.0 Avg. Finish

The 2017 campaign for Sebastien Bourdais upon his return to Dale Coyne Racing will forever be known as both a year of “what could have been” and a year of “what a comeback it was.”

The abnormal season for Bourdais stretched eight races with a three-month break in the middle owing to his own mistake qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, which left him with multiple pelvic fractures and a fracture to his right hip. His car was a rocket ship; but after two laps at 231 mph, Bourdais appeared to over-correct and destroyed the wall at Turn 2 in Indy in a massive 127G impact. It was a horrific looking accident, but one that also saw Bourdais rather lucky to have not been injured worse.

It set forth in motion an incredible recovery that saw Bourdais back testing the Monday after Mid-Ohio, just over two months since the accident, then in race action just over three months later at the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park oval, and because Bourdais is a regulation badass, he finished in the top-10 straight out of the box. He worked as hard as he did to return earlier than anticipated to avoid an offseason of questions asking if he’d come back and if he’d be strong enough to do so.

The recovery was a welcome story to end the year after the agony at Indy that stopped a potential title run or certainly top-five in points finish in its tracks. A classic Coyne strategy special vaulted Bourdais from last to first and a popular win in his U.S. hometown of St. Petersburg to kick off the year. A second place at Long Beach backed it up and eighth at Barber kept him atop the standings.

But Indy was shaping up to be an important bounce back weekend after Bourdais got taken out in Phoenix, then incurred an engine failure in the IMS road course race. And then, of course, his loud and violent accident qualifying for the ‘500 changed the course of the season.

After three “almost there” but largely unfulfilling years at KV Racing Technology, Bourdais embraced the family atmosphere back at Coyne along with longtime engineers Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson, determined to continue punching above the team’s weight. He crafted a remarkable story all season and will be keen to fulfill it over the course of a proper full campaign in 2018.