Kevin Harvick to make 500th Sprint Cup start, seeks first Texas win

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This has been a year where time has been a significant part of the news in the NASCAR world.

For example, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who many fans arguably saw as perpetually young, turned 40 nearly three weeks ago.

And Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, while he isn’t 40 yet (he turns 39 on Dec. 5), Kevin Harvick will set a significant milestone when he makes the 500th start of his 14-season Sprint Cup career.

To date, Harvick has won 26 races, and has also achieved 111 top-five and 226 top-10 finishes, as well as 14 pole awards.

To commemorate Harvick’s achievement in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing/Budweiser Chevrolet will carry a 500th start logo on the hood, under the right taillight and on the base of the b-post on both sides of the car.

Harvick comes into Sunday’s event, the second of three races in the Eliminator Round, ranked eighth among the eight drivers still in contention for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

But with the high-speed 1.5-mile track being one of Harvick’s favorites on the circuit, he’s hoping to make some significant movement upward in the standings with a strong finish Sunday.

“Well, it ranks pretty high right now, just for the fact that I’ve never been to Victory Lane on the Cup side,” Harvick said in a team media release. “I’ve won a ton of races there in the Nationwide and Truck series as a driver and an owner.

“We had a really, really fast car there in the spring and had a crazy, freak motor problem. Our mile-and-a-half stuff has really been our bread and butter this year, so I’m looking forward to getting back there and trying to get to Victory Lane. That would really be the best spot to end up.”

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Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.