By Lee Montgomery
Special to Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
The "mega-team" is a common occurrence in the Sprint Cup Series, but in NASCAR's Nationwide Series, it's rare to see a team field more than two cars.
Turner Motorsports regularly enters four cars in the Nationwide Series race this year, while Roush Fenway Racing has had three in all but one event.
Every other full-time team is a one- or two-car operation, and that usually includes Kevin Harvick Inc., which runs the No. 2 Chevrolet for Elliott Sadler in every race, as well as the No. 33 with multiple drivers.
But for this Friday's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway, KHI will have four cars: Sadler, Clint Bowyer in the No. 33 and two additional cars, the No. 4 for Harvick and the No. 9 for Tony Stewart.
"That goes back to the style of racing, and that's really why you have to have an even number of cars," Harvick said. "With the new racing surface (at Daytona) you also need a good drafting partner. KHI is fielding four cars for this race, so finding a partner shouldn't be too difficult."
Harvick is talking about the unique two-car drafts that have become prevalent at restrictor-plate tracks. With four cars, KHI has the ability to have a pair of two-car drafts utilizing only its cars. KHI had three cars at Daytona in February, with Stewart battling Bowyer to the finish line (Sadler had wrecked earlier in the race).
KHI has been a powerhouse at Daytona since Stewart gave the team its first win in 2005. The team has four wins, eight top-five finishes, 11 top 10s and two poles in 21 Daytona starts over the last six-and-a-half years.
In addition, the four drivers entered have combined for 44 Nationwide starts overall there, eight victories, 27 top fives, 32 top 10s and six poles at Daytona.
Stewart has been personally responsible for much of those gaudy statistics, as he's 4-for-6 at Daytona for KHI in the Nationwide Series. He returns to Daytona with the same car he won with in February, with KHI Camping World Truck Series crew chief Bruce Cook serving as his crew chief.
"I think it's because of the attention to detail that Kevin and DeLana put into their racecars," Stewart said of his Daytona success. "You see it in their truck series program. You see it in their Nationwide Series program. They just do everything first class. I always have the confidence when I get in one of their cars that I'm in just as competitive a car as I could be with any other organization out there.
"They're first class, and that's the kind of group that you want to be with when you do a one-off race like this. You have that confidence. You don't worry about anything. You know that they're giving you the best equipment that you can get in that series. It's always fun."
Bowyer, who won at Daytona in July 2009 for Richard Childress Racing, returns in the car he finished second with in February. The February race was his eighth top-five in 12 Daytona starts.
Harvick will have Chris Carrier, crew chief for KHI's No. 8 truck team, serving as his crew chief for this race. Harvick has one win, 12 top fives and 14 top 10s in 17 starts at Daytona.
Finally, there's Sadler, KHI's lone full-time driver who is second in the series points standings.
What: Subway Jalapeno 250
Where: Daytona International Speedway; Daytona Beach, Fla.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. Eastern
TV: ESPN, 7 p.m. Eastern
Radio: MRN/Sirius/XM Satellite Ch. 90
Track layout: 2.5-mile oval
Race distance: 100 laps/250 miles
Qualifying: Friday, 2:10 p.m. Eastern
2010 winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2010 polesitter: Brad Keselowski
Points standings: 1. Reed Sorenson, 568; 2. Elliott Sadler, 563; 3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 561; 4. Justin Allgaier, 534; 5. Jason Leffler, 495; 6. Aric Almirola, 493; 7. Kenny Wallace, 457; 8. Steve Wallace, 434; 9. Brian Scott, 422; 10. Michael Annett, 408.