INSIGHT: The enjoyable’s simply beginning for Harvick
Kevin Harvick will inform you that his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing staff is boring. Now with back-to-back NASCAR Cup Collection wins in his pocket, the door has opened for Harvick to capitalize on a few of his greatest racetracks and be much more of a risk within the playoffs.
However that’s the place the boring half is available in. Harvick and his staff aren’t going to offer any swagger-filled soundbites or headlines about why they need to be thought-about amongst the title favorites.
“We don’t ever look forward,” Harvick stated Sunday evening at Richmond Raceway. “They plan forward; I do know that they’re somewhat bit forward if I present up on the simulator and so they’re like, ‘Hey, we’re going to work on this specific race that’s two weeks out.’ Then I’m like, oh, OK, we’re engaged on a mission right here. I don’t ever say something, however I can inform,”
Two wins from the final two races has locked Harvick into the playoffs – a 180 turnaround for a driver who was sitting beneath the playoff grid cutline simply a short while in the past. The win streak snaps what had been a 65-race winless drought relationship again to the autumn of 2020. Momentum is on Harvick’s facet, and he’s additionally now bought 10 playoff factors in his pocket.
However boring or not, there’s no denying that the ultimate 10 weeks of the season function a few of his strongest venues. And sadly for the competitors these tracks make up the primary 4 weeks of the championship struggle: Darlington (Sept. 4), Kansas (Sept. 11), Bristol (Sept. 17), and Texas (Sept. 25).
Harvick has a mixed 12 wins at these tracks – three wins a bit at every racetrack.
“We went to Texas and ran final this yr,” Harvick rebutted. “I believe that each one these issues are out the window and Darlington was good, Kansas was good. We’ll return and run higher at Texas, however these are positively good tracks for us.”
Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers is certainly what’s to come back, albeit extra from the standpoint of staff planning.
“You must take a look at these tracks somewhat bit forward of time,” he stated. “Darlington, we had been lucky sufficient to do the tire take a look at there, and we had been in a position to race there, and we truthfully had a great automobile. However it’s additionally one of many locations that we did all the pieces utterly backwards than all the pieces that has made us higher within the final two months.
Issues are clicking at simply the correct time for Harvick and the No.4 SHR staff. Matthew Thacker/Motorsport Photos
“Monday, I introduced it up, after which Tuesday’s that each one I labored on all day was Darlington, after which on the finish of the day, I’m like, I’ve bought to stop worrying about Darlington at this level and put it away. We went to the simulator Wednesday morning, and I by no means introduced it up once more. You must take into consideration these issues, and what automobile you’re going to take and all that stuff.
“You simply proceed to plan and do the correct issues and like he stated, our system is what’s working proper now. It’s not that we’ve completed (something) a ton totally different. It’s that our system is working, and the individuals are speaking the correct method and speaking about the correct issues, and that’s what we’ve bought to maintain going.”
The narrative change is sort of the emotional turnaround for a staff that was preventing for its postseason life, and now has the storage questioning how far it might go. A month in the past, Childers did acknowledge that wins would supply a motivational enhance earlier than the playoffs.
Contained in the partitions at Stewart-Haas Racing, although, the self-belief started to show round two months in the past.
“The communication and the arrogance and the automobiles we had been constructing and all that stuff simply bought higher,” stated Childers at Richmond. “It doesn’t take numerous confidence with our group to make an enormous distinction. That group has been a tight-knit group the complete time and we push one another.
“Each staff on this storage goes by so many negatives that no person in right here ever hears about, whether or not it’s someone in your loved ones that’s sick or someone has bought this or bought that. It’s so laborious to maintain the positives going, even when issues are going proper. Just like the yr we gained 10 races, a man on our staff had most cancers. These forms of issues… that’s what you speak about in these conferences greater than you speak about making your automobiles higher. However it’s actually nearly maintaining the system the identical and never being over right here one week and over right here the subsequent week, and simply treating folks the identical, treating folks proper and doing the correct issues.”
Harvick doesn’t deny he takes satisfaction from proving folks mistaken. Following his win at Michigan, he stated those that counted his staff out don’t know them. After Richmond, when requested about popping out swinging when put right into a nook, Harvick made an analogy to editors having to print erratum.
“It’s form of like after they put these small bins within the newspaper the place they must appropriate their story, and you may hardly learn them,” he stated. “I really feel like numerous you need to put these on the backside of your story. I get nice gratification out of that.”
Harvick and his staff may stay by a business-as-usual perspective, but it surely now seems to be assured that his run to finish this season shall be something however boring.