Winning slogan has returned at an opportune time for Kevin Harvick’s team

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The “I Believe That We Will Win” chant returned Sunday in victory lane at Kansas Speedway, signifying belief for Kevin Harvick’s team after a brief period of lost faith.

Crew chief Rodney Childers recently reaffixed a sign sporting the slogan to the back door of the No. 4 Chevrolet’s hauler, where it has been hanging for nearly two years.

“Honestly, I thought it had started to stall,” Childers told NBC Sports. “I thought it was getting old with our team, and we needed something new. So I took it off the back door and come up with something totally new and put it on the back door for a while.

“Things weren’t going good, so I tore it back off and we went back to what works.”

The “I Believe That We Will Win” sign was hung up again shortly before the 2016 playoffs. Harvick has won in the middle race of the first two rounds to secure advancement.

Childers said Harvick texted the slogan – which was popularized by the U.S. Men’s National Team during the 2014 World Cup — to team members before the Oct. 11, 2014 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which Harvick won on his way to the championship.

“Kevin basically said this is what we need to live by these next few weeks,” Childers said. “We believed in that. We did the same thing last year. It’s always written on our back door of the hauler.”

Harvick has made a habit of capturing must-win races. Since the playoffs were restructured three seasons ago, he has six Chase victories – each of which either advanced him to the next round or claimed a championship.

“That’s just another example of those guys believing in themselves, and I love it when they’re having fun,” Harvick told NBC Sports about hearing the chant. “To hear those guys and see them as excited as they are, I know I’m excited. This is what we do this for is to win races. There’s no better feeling than winning races, and you put your back against the wall and see a whole group of guys come together and accomplish something that a lot of people can’t do, it’s just a great feeling.”

Harvick said the dynamic of his team works because “everybody gets along. We’re all approximately the same ages. Most of us have families. That’s really the case at Stewart-Haas Racing from top to bottom. So we don’t have that generation gap of communication from older leaders to a younger staff. It’s a good chemistry of people that makes it work and wants to race.”

Harvick chuckled when told that Childers had removed the “I Believe That We Will Win” sign.

“I didn’t know that,” he said. “Those guys are a lot more superstitious than I am. I believe in fast cars and good preparation are what wins races, not signs in the hauler. So whatever works for them, I’m money. I’m with them. If that’s what we’ve got to, I’m good with that.”

So what was the new slogan that Childers had tried to use?

“I don’t even remember now,” he said with a laugh. “It doesn’t matter at this point. We’re going with what works.”

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch questions Xfinity rules package at Indy

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Kyle Busch isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly did so after Saturday’s  Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR implemented a number of changes to make the racing closer, tighter and more exciting — including restrictor plates, a larger rear spoiler, aero ducts, and a smaller splitter — and achieved all that on many fronts.

But not for the younger Busch brother, who wasn’t pleased with the rules package. Was it actually designed to specifically slow him down rather than to even out things for the entire field?

Or was he just simply upset because he didn’t win a third Xfinity race in a row at IMS?

Check out how our NASCAR America analysts gauged the Xfinity changes in the above video.

 

TriStar Motorsports team owner Mark Smith passes away

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Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, died Saturday at his home, after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Monday. He was 63.

He began his racing career building engines for his brother Jack’s drag car in the 1970s. He moved his family from the West Coast in the early 1990s to pursue a career in NASCAR. He was the owner of TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines.

TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 14 in the Xfinty Series with JJ Yeley and the No. 72 in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt. The team stated the team will continue operations under the management of Bryan Smith, son of Mark Smith.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang victoryjunction.org or NOVA (National Organization for Vehicle Access, part of the BraunAbility) novafunding.org.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. ET, Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, North Carolina. They have created a Facebook page where you are encouraged to leave a story for the family to enjoy. (facebook.com/Remembering-Mark-Smith-301261653675224)

NASCAR America: Analysts break down Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. wreck (video)

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Given how wild the Brickyard 400 played out, the big wreck between race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t exactly surprising.

Rather, with the way the race transpired from the opening lap, was the Busch/Truex wreck almost inevitable?

Truex got loose and washed up into the left rear of Busch’s car, sending both drivers and their respective cars into the outside retaining walls, hitting hard and ending their respective days.

Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about the wreck from Monday’s show in the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. recaps wild Brickyard 400 (video)

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr. — who will become part of our NBC Sports Group in 2018 — looked back on a wild and intense Brickyard 400.

Earnhardt was one of several drivers whose day came to an early ending — in Junior’s case when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne‘s car, destroying his radiator in the process.

All the mayhem and mishaps could be linked to over-aggressive driving, Earnhardt said, saying that every driver was in “attack mode,” especially on restarts.

Check out Junior in the video above.