Kevin Harvick has triple the number of wins (nine) at Phoenix Raceway as any other competitor he’ll race with in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race. Next closest in the win tally is Kyle Busch with three victories.
And Harvick, 46, and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team are hopeful some of that impressive past record will translate into some present day good fortune, but he refuses to equate his past record with his present expectations.
After turning in a series best nine wins in 2020, Harvick went winless in 2021 – the first time in 12 years he didn’t earn at least one victory. This year, he’s got only one top-10 showing – seventh place – at California Speedway. He’s yet to start a race from the top-20. He’s currently ranked 16th in points.
Despite his refusal to make expectations for the weekend, Harvick has to feel Phoenix is as good a place as any to right the ship. He’s only finished outside the top-10 one time there in the last 20 races (13th in 2013). He won six times in eight races between 2012-16, including four consecutive (2013-15). And even after the track re-design in 2019, Harvick has five top-10 finishes in five races, including a runner-up effort in 2020.
“I think a lot of the things that were finesse kind of went away when they put the resin and the PJ1 up there so that anybody could do that groove,’’ Harvick said this week at Phoenix, adding, “You just have to keep chipping away at it and try to keep yourself in contention and that is really what it is all about. We are still learning.”
And, he added, “What you have done here in the past is really irrelevant just because of the fact that it is a different car and a different style of racing. There are so many different things.
“We probably had a sixth or a 10th place last week (at Las Vegas) and had a decent car at California, we just kept having little things go wrong and just continue to chip away at it and see where it falls,’’ Harvick said.