How Kevin Harvick’s consecutive wins change his season prospects

Via Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR writer

RICHMOND, Va. – Kevin Harvick preached this past week that he hasn’t changed his routine despite going 687 days, 65 races without a win.

The question: Should you change your habits if you haven’t won in 687 days out of 65 races?

“The confidence that keeps you doing what you’re doing is your routine and being comfortable with change,” says Harvick. “You have to be able to try things and progress and grow.

“Throughout that process as you grow, so does the habit, and so does the thought process. But the growth of what you do will continually be different, no matter how you prepare yourself for it. physically and mentally.”

Harvick proved his routine was right, as he won head-to-head races at Michigan and Richmond over the past two weekends. With those two wins, he’s out of the knockout stages to potentially start season after season with the top 10.

But the resulting shift isn’t as dramatic as two wins might suggest.

Harvick has seen his form steadily improve throughout this season, and so has his longtime Stewart-Haas Racing team leader, Rodney Childers.

“You could see it two months ago,” Childers said. “Two months ago, it was like, ‘We run better here, and this is better, and this is better, and this is better.’

“Two months before that, we would have those meetings, and it was like, ‘Well, this is worse, this is worse, this is worse, this is worse. “

46-year-old Harvick is used to roller coaster racing. He often mentioned that nothing could challenge him as much as his reaching the Cup, when he replaced Dale Earnhardt Sr. after he passed away in the Daytona 500 in 2001.

Harvick also has a longer winless streak than this, as he went more than three years – 115 races – without a win from 2007 to 2010.

“How much have I lost in my most recent losing streak?” Harvick said. “How much is it? It’s like, 100…

“You look at anyone’s career, and they go through losing streaks. We were lucky to end it. I think that’s the best part, isn’t it?”

Kevin Harvick wins two races in a row

Kevin Harvick won two races in eight days after a 687-day winning streak of 65 races.

The only thing better than ending a losing streak might be creating a winning streak. Harvick is the first driver this year to win head-to-head races.

For him, the key may be that he can finally tap into his racing experience. With the Next Generation car and spending more time in the simulator for initial setup, Harvick enjoyed the chance to go to the track a second time. He finished second at Richmond earlier this year, and his team built on that knowledge to win Sunday.

“I’m really excited that we’re going back to a lot of these tracks. I can actually open a notebook and not shoot out of the pit and say, ‘Well, I wonder how much I should ride it. far today “I wonder if it will hit the limit or get tight or loose?” “Harvick said.

“At least going back, the thought processes are going to be different for us until setup and things like that.”

When Harvick and Childers were able to pinpoint what Harvick wanted, it made them a dangerous team. They won nine races in 2020 before that unbeaten streak began after the Bristol night race.

“We try to act like grown-ups and go to work every morning and be productive with the conversations that Rodney talks about,” says Harvick. “You have to believe the things around you.” “You have to believe in yourself.

“There’s really nothing like jumping in a race car and replacing Dale Earnhardt. There’s nothing like it for the first six or eight weeks. You can’t compare to it. Never will. . Never come near. Nothing even closer.”

Back then, Harvick was a young chauffeur who spoke loudly and sought respect. He’s a veteran now, who believes he’s earned respect. But he also had a notable controversy with NASCAR’s most popular driver, Chase Elliott, last year. Harvick tried to intimidate Elliott, and their relationships at Bristol and the Charlotte school course would come to the fore for years to come.

Kevin Harvick beat Richmond

Kevin Harvick stopped Christopher Bell’s late surge to come back with Sunday’s win at Richmond.

Still, Harvick swears he’s not a “get off my lawn” guy.

“It’s really fun to see boys old enough to be your kids start driving the cars,” he said. “[It] opens you up to different perspectives on how people see things and what’s going on. “

The perception of what Harvick can do in the final 12 races of the year has certainly changed over the past two weeks – at least from the outside looking in.

Can he envision winning head-to-head races before the green flag goes down at Michigan?

“There is really no vision,” said Harvick. “For us, it’s always trying to be as competitive as possible. When you look at this particular two-week period, that’s true.

“We’ve done nothing but keep working, keep doing the things that we’ve been doing. Our cars have been competitively fast for the past month and a half, and we’ve had no luck.”

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Think big

It’s good that NASCAR made a change to try to prevent the fire at Indy from happening, adding a wrap that can keep damaged exhaust pipes away from the heating body panels and safety foam.

Does that contribute? Chase Briscoe the Richmond fire should be investigated.

Like Joey Logano said NASCAR needs to continue to examine the materials used and whether other non-combustible options are available. But at least NASCAR doesn’t ignore this issue.

Social focus

Statistics of the day

Kevin Harvick has won 29 races since turning 40. Only two drivers have won more after turning 40: Lee Petty (42 years old) and Bobby Allison (38 years old).

They said it

“Our car started to drive worse there towards the end, and we kept moving forward. So I’m just confused here.” – Chasing Elliott at his show in Richmond

Bob Pockrass has spent decades researching motorsports, including 30 former Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after working at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Subscribe to the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass!

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