The car is referred to as 081 by Rodney Childers’ crew and in the three Cup Series races it has run this year, it’s unbeatable.
It’s the No. 4 Ford that Kevin Harvick is now 3-for-3 with after his win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing team first brought the car to the track for the July 5 Brickyard 400.
In the three races the car has raced, including both parts of this weekend’s doubleheader, Harvick has led 250 of 478 laps and earned four stage wins.
On Sunday, Harvick officially started 20th after a field inversion of the top-20 finishers from Saturday. Harvick won the second stage and eventually led the final 41 laps, holding off Denny Hamlin by .093 seconds to keep 081’s winning streak alive.
Surely, they’ll bring it back at some point in the final 14 races of the season?
“I bet we don’t run it anymore, to be honest with you,” Harvick said after Sunday’s race. “I think there’s so many different styles of racetracks that we’re going to as we go forward here. Obviously, we’re going to a road course (Daytona) next week, then we go to a low downforce track two races in a row at Dover, then a superspeedway car (Daytona), then you go into short tracks, Darlington with high downforce cars. I know you won’t run it at Vegas or Charlotte.
“Honestly, I don’t think you’ll run this car anymore.”
When asked about the future of 081, Childers wouldn’t budge.
“That’s kind of up to me to decide. It’s top secret,” Childers said. “It’s going to be a surprise.”
Don’t expect the No. 4 team to christen 081 – a number assigned to it in production – with any affectionate nicknames, like the name Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave to a car a few years ago, “Amelia.”
“We don’t really talk about that kind of stuff,” Childers said. “We’ve had some good cars over the years with the 4 team and some of them have won a lot of races. We call it 081 and we keep it going through the system just like any other car. Just have to figure out our car schedule and figure out where we’re going to run it again and keep moving forward with it.”