AVONDALE, Ariz. –Kevin Harvick is the only driver who has advanced to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in each of the first two years of the Chase’s elimination format.
To do so this year, however, Harvick probably will have to win on Sunday. Then again, Phoenix is Harvick’s personal turf – or pavement, to be literal.
The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet has won five of the last six races at the one-mile track in the Sonoran desert. In the one of those six he didn’t win, last year’s Chase race, Harvick led a race-high 143 laps before finishing second to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a rain-shortened event.
This year, Harvick comes to Phoenix 18 points below the Chase cutoff line. Whenever Harvick has needed a victory to advance in the Chase, he has gotten it. But will the odds eventually catch up to him?
“They did last year,” Harvick said. “We dominated the end of that race and wound up losing it to rain and where the caution came out. So they are a lot easier to lose than they are to win. Anything can happen, and we just have to control the things that we can control and try and put ourselves in position to where we usually do and see where it all falls.
“That’s what makes all this here exciting, and really what I like about it is the sense of the unknown, the competition, the effort, and the thought and everything that goes into that is intriguing for me. From a team standpoint, to see where everybody is at and how they approach it is fun to me, and I like to see people performing and working at that level. Because once they do it, you can hold them to it.”