So far this year, Kevin Harvick is on a feast or famine roller coaster. He’s either good or he’s not good. You’d think that’d concern a driver. However, Harvick says that hasn’t cocerned him, simply due to the speed that they have shown.
“Even if they start practice slow, Rodney (Childers) and the engineers and everybody in this organization they can figure out whatever my problem is in the car they can figure out how to fix it,” Harvick said. “If we start half a second off the pace by the end of practice we will be able to gain and by race day it will be even better. I’ve just never been a part of something that they have been able to work on the car so much and make it better.”
Based on how the past couple of weeks have gone and the intermediate tracks so far this year, speed hasn’t been an issue and he should be good to go this weekend. Harvick showed it in qualifying as he posted quick time in the first session and looked to be a favourite for the pole. However, his team didn’t time the last segment correctly, resulting in no time posted. As a result, Harvick will start the 600-mile race in the 11th spot.
Starting 11th, though, Harvick still should be considered a favourite based on the fact that you have all night to make up spots and the pure speed that he has shown. As Harvick notes, it’ll be all about keeping up with the car as the sun goes down.
“You just have to keep up with the car and always try and stay on the lead lap through the beginning part of the race knowing that your car is going to need to handle a lot different as you get to night,” Harvick commented. “It’s an interesting challenge. It’s a long night you are never out of the race unless you are torn up. You don’t want to get yourself torn up or make a dumb mistake early in the race because you can always make your car right by the end.”
Harvick added for that reason, you have to take what the car will give you at the beginning and simply survive than so that way you’re in contention for the second half.
“In the end as you get towards the end there is just a lot that can happen throughout the day and night,” Harvick commented. “You just have to be patient to get yourself within at least 100 miles of the end so that you can still be in contention.”
Beyond simply keeping up with the car, everybody always talks about the driver and worries surrounding physical and mental fatigue. Harvick says for that reason, as a driver, he always tries to stay in tune with what he’s doing.
“I think for me it’s just about making laps and trying to remember exactly what you did in that corner last time,” he expressed. “It never wanders off of racing for sure just for the fact that unless a cable falls out of the sky or something falls in front of your car then you have something else to think about. All in all it’s just trying to relay that information back to the crew as much as you can to try to be as good a piece of information as you can to keep up with the track.”
If Harvick reaches victory lane on Sunday night, it’ll be no surprise to anybody as he has reached victory lane twice this year already and has shown speed virtually each weekend. Coming over from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas Racing, while there may have been some skeptical thoughts in the beginning, Harvick now knows he made a great decision.
“The bottom line is the organization from a whole has given us every resource that we have asked for,” he explained. “You never talk about money, it’s just what do you need and how do we get it for you, how do we get better. They went out recruited Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and he went out and recruited every single person on this team. They all came here for the same reasons. They all want to win races. They all want to win and race for championships and when you put that kind of people together with that determination everybody pushes everybody else.”