After a dismal beginning to the year at the Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick has officially returned to his typical form. The Richard Childress Racing driver is in the final year of his contract, and will be leaving the only tem he has ever driven for in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The veteran Harvick has never won a Sprint Cup Series title, but has made the Chase for the Sprint Cup the past three years. Harvick is maturing into a consistent driver, but will continue to be known as the closer for his ability to win races without leading many laps.
The Sprint Cup season is now one quarter done, so judgment can easily be passed. Harvick’s consistency has been something to marvel at. Besides the win yesterday at Richmond, Harvick’s only top ten of the season had been at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Since then, Harvick finishes ranged between 14th and 12th. Considering how different those tracks were, ranging in size from Bristol to Fontana, it’s absolutely incredible in this ultra-competitive era of NASCAR that a team can accomplish that amount of consistency.
Also, the argument can be made that Harvick is at his best during the spring stretch between Talladega and Daytona. Last year in the same stretch, Harvick improved from seventh to fifth in the standings, and improved from fifth to third during the same stretch two years ago. It was the decisive race win at Talladega in 2010 that gave Harvick the momentum to hold the points lead until the Chase began in Richmond.
Perhaps this victory will have the same effect that the win three years ago did. Although Harvick is 72 points behind standings leader Jimmie Johnson, you can just sense the team getting better and improving. Kevin Harvick said yesterday he will not back down. For a driver that has been fighting his entire career, and has successfully created his own image, it would be hard to believe anyone who thought he would.
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