Chase favorite Kevin Harvick gets an early start on the mind games

NASCAR Championship Press Conference

MIAMI— It didn’t take Kevin Harvick long to start the needling — and his target was the new guy, Joey Logano.

Before the drivers’ portion of Wednesday’s Championship 4 Media Day was 10 minutes old, Harvick made an issue of Logano running interference for teammate Brad Keselowski at Talladega in a race Keselowski had to win to stay in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Seated at the dais in the ballroom at Trump National Doral with fellow Championship 4 Round drivers Logano, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman, Harvick suggested Keselowski, who was eliminated last Sunday at Phoenix, might return the favor and block for Logano in Sunday’s title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on ESPN).

“I thought you were going to say that you were going to send Brad out to be a moving chicane the way you were at Talladega,” Harvick said.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Kevin,” Logano retorted.

“Maybe you should ask Roger,” Harvick rejoined, referring to Logano’s team owner, Roger Penske.

Competing in his first Chase, Logano may have seemed to Harvick the most vulnerable target. Or perhaps Harvick, the championship favorite, considers Logano the biggest threat to his own title aspirations.

“Bingo,” tweeted Keselowski when that precise notion was suggested on social media.

In a question-and-answer session with reporters after the press conference, Harvick demurred.

“I think anybody can be a threat,” he said. “Obviously, Denny (Hamlin) has been really good at this particular race. Joey’s been good all year, and Newman’s been pretty consistent. I think if you put yourself in position to win this race, you’re going to win the championship.

“So that’s really our focus going into the weekend, to try to win. Obviously, the 22 car (Logano) has been probably one of the better cars all year, as far as speed and consistency and winning races.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.