Kevin Harvick was thrust into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2001 after the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt. Despite the huge media coverage around his team, and significant resentment from many Earnhardt fans, he found instant success, winning in just his third start. Harvick was highly competitive, but could never score the big prize – a series championship.
After 13 years with Richard Childress Racing, Harvick decided it was time for a change. At the end of the 2013 season, Harvick made the move to Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). The rest, as they say, is history. Harvick had a phenomenal season in 2014, scoring five wins, 14 top-fives, 20 top-tens, and eight poles. Just for good measure, he added the series championship. Happy Harvick, was “happy” again.
Harvick came to Daytona to carry his momentum into 2015 and to take a run at a second title. Distractions, however, are the story once again. On Friday, Harvick’s teammate, Kurt Busch, was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for actions detrimental to stock car racing. That action was followed by similar action by Chevrolet, the manufacturer that supports SHR.
Harvick, however, did not waiver. Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet was fast all weekend, seemingly picking up right where he left off last season. Though, he did not lead any laps in this year’s Daytona 500, he did have what every driver wanted – a shot to win at the end.
“Coming to the white, you never know what’s going to happen. Obviously everything is shuffled out to where these two guys were nose to tail behind me. Maybe I should have backed up a little bit harder. But I didn’t want to back up so much that they drove right by me. I wanted to try to time it so I could have them to my bumper, have a good run coming off of four and have a shot. That didn’t pan out. Didn’t even have a chance to try to time it out. But still just really proud of my team, the way they act and react to things. Just really good. Feel really good about where we are.”, Harvick said in a post race interview.
Harvick crossed the line in second behind race winner, Joey Logano.
Harvick is showing no signs of losing his momentum and has to still be considered a favorite for another series championship.