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2. Kevin Harvick

Dan Beaver
Monday, February 6, 2017

In the two seasons prior to 2016, Kevin Harvick dug deep holes for himself during the playoffs but always seemed to climb out of them with victories. These often came in pivotal events in the final races of their respective rounds, so no one was particularly concerned when he entered Phoenix International Raceway last November needing to win to become part of the Championship Four.

Harvick missed the final round of the Chase for the first time since this current format was employed, but fantasy owners with the No. 4 on their lineup probably won their leagues when he finished fourth and completed a top-five sweep of the season on that flat one-mile track. Harvick has been so dominant on that course that no one was caught unaware of his record—but Phoenix was one of five tracks on which he swept the top five and one of eight with perfect top-10s.

Harvick was solid everywhere in 2016. His top-five sweeps came at Phoenix, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, and Michigan International Speedway. Top-10s were earned in both Texas Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, and Bristol Motor Speedway events.

There are some consistencies in the list above. Phoenix and New Hampshire are both short, flat tracks along with Richmond. Pocono is longer version of the flat tracks and Harvick also posted a top-10 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Virginia .750-mile tri-oval can be linked to the bullring of Bristol.

Kansas, Michigan, and Texas belong to the list of similarly-configured, 1.5- and two-mile tracks. Add Kentucky Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway with top-10s in their single races of the season and players could easily place-and-hold Harvick on two of the most dominant track types on which NASCAR competes.

But while it is easy to become hyperbolic about the 2014 NASCAR champion, there were a few moments of concern last year. Harvick was never able to string more than five top-10s together and his longest streak came at the start of the season from the Daytona 500 through his runner-up finish in the Auto Club 400.

After that, he posted four consecutive strong runs on several occasions, but lost some momentum at the end of the year. In the final 10 races of the season, Harvick finished 20th or worse four times. That had happened to him only twice during the regular season.

Stewart-Haas Racing will experience a few challenges this year. Clint Bowyer is a new addition to the organization; Danica Patrick unexpectedly lost a sponsor in January, and those factors could provide a distraction for Harvick and Kurt Busch.

Moreover, Harvick will have a key role in preparing the developmental drivers for a new team in the Xfinity Series, but those same challenges could galvanize him and make the No. 4 an even bigger contender this year.

Victories: Phoenix (spring), Bristol (fall), New Hampshire (fall), and Kansas (fall)
Top-fives: 17 (.472)
Top-10s: 27 (.750)
Top-15s: 29 (.806) 

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Best
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Phoenix International Raceway +

1.57

10.04

1

28

17

1

4

Darlington Raceway

2.67

15.65

1

20

9

2

 

Homestead - Miami Speedway

4.00

6.00

1

14

13

3

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

5.67

9.94

1

16

10

6

 

Kansas Speedway +

5.83

10.45

1

22

11

2

1

Richmond International Raceway +

7.00

10.47

1

32

20

5

5

Michigan International Speedway +

7.50

12.66

1

32

15

5

5

Kentucky Speedway

8.00

10.17

7

6

4

9

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway

9.00

15.41

1

32

14

2

38

Atlanta Motor Speedway

9.00

17.62

1

26

11

6

 

Sonoma Raceway

10.00

14.56

2

16

7

6

 

Talladega Superspeedway

10.17

15.06

1

32

14

15

7

New Hampshire Motor Speedway +

10.33

13.06

1

32

17

4

1

Texas Motor Speedway *

10.83

12.00

2

28

16

10

6

Pocono Raceway *

12.17

13.66

2

32

13

9

4

Auto Club Speedway

13.33

15.13

1

23

11

2

 

Watkins Glen International

14.00

13.25

1

16

8

32

 

Dover Downs International

14.17

15.00

1

32

14

15

37

Martinsville Speedway

15.50

16.03

1

31

14

17

20

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

16.33

13.38

1

16

7

7

 

Bristol Motor Speedway *

16.33

13.94

1

32

15

7

1

Daytona International Speedway

16.83

16.13

1

31

14

4

39

Chicagoland Speedway

22.33

12.25

1

16

9

20

 

 Inactive Tracks

Homestead - Miami Speedway - old

 

13.50

 

2

1

 

 

North Carolina Speedway

 

19.86

 

7

 

 

 

 

+ Top-five sweeps
* Top-10 sweeps

3. Jimmie Johnson 
4. Kyle Busch 
5. Chase Elliott 
6. Brad Keselowski 
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
8. Matt Kenseth 
9. Denny Hamlin 
10. Kyle Larson 
11. Martin Truex Jr. 
12. Carl Edwards
13. Kasey Kahne 
14. Kurt Busch 
15. Erik Jones 
16. Ryan Blaney 

2016 Profile: Kevin Harvick 
2015 Profile: Kevin Harvick