Kevin Harvick Sure Could Use a Win
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, looks on in the garage during practcie for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2012 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
NASCAR THIS WEEK By Monte Dutton
The good news is that Kevin Harvick managed to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
The bad news is that, so far, Harvick hasn’t managed to win a race. He finished 11th in the second installment of NASCAR’s race-offs and is already 31 points off Jimmie Johnson’s pace.
Richard Childress Racing, where Harvick competes alongside Jeff Burton and Paul Menard, is winless, though the organization has prospered in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. RCR last went winless at the Cup level in 2009. The team has been stuck on 100 Sprint Cup victories all year. Harvick won four times in 2011.
Twice this season Harvick has finished second, the most recent runner-up showing occurring at Dover International Speedway, the next stop on the Cup schedule.
“I think for us we need to make our cars better,” Harvick said. “We need to get faster.”
“We have been fortunate to be in the position that we are in, points-wise. You’ve got to kind of balance that with trying to get better and also trying to protect what you’ve got.”
Harvick, 36, has a knack for consistency. In the past three weeks, the Bakersfield, Calif., native has finished 10th, 12th and 11th. In fact, he’s finished in a range of 10th to 16th in eight of the past nine races. The exception was a fifth at Atlanta on Labor Day weekend.
It’s not the kind of consistency Harvick has in mind.
The RCR operation finds itself playing catch-up in the Chase, which isn’t a good place to be.
“I don’t think there is really one specific thing that you can put your finger on to say this is what we are doing,” Harvick said. “I think it’s a lot of things that need to get better. Everybody is working on them. We didn’t capitalize on the situations that we were in to win races at the beginning of the year. Performance hasn’t been exactly where we needed to be. Everybody is working hard to try to get it to that point. Hopefully, we can do that.”
At this late point, it’s a hard feat to accomplish.
Monte Dutton covers motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. E-mail Monte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.