Kevin Harvick: Great execution made up for inconsistent speed

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 01: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer/Ducks Unlimited Ford, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 01, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick may be 14 points below the current cut line for the Championship 4 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, but if it weren’t for near-flawless execution by Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team, the deficit might be much larger.

Harvick hasn’t drawn a pit road speeding penalty for more than a year, and it’s not because he and his team aren’t pushing the limits. They’re simply that precise.

“We’ve been as aggressive on pit road as we’ve always been,” Harvick said. “I tell our young guys this, whether I have something to do with them or not. We still practice every week. Every week we go up and down pit road, in and out of the pit box. Hard onto pit road, hard off of pit road. It isn’t something you can let your guard down with.

“As you look at it, I feel like it is one of the reasons our team is still in it. I don’t feel like we’ve had that knockout speed that the Gibbs cars have had on a week-to-week basis. We have had it a few times and been able to capitalize on that, but I feel like we’ve done a good job minimizing the mistakes, and we have three more weeks to do that.

“It has been those types of scenarios. Solid execution of things, except for a few weeks that we have had here lately for the most part that have kept us in the mix all year.”

The winner of the last two Playoff races at Texas, Harvick had good speed in opening practice on Friday. He posted the 10th fastest single lap and was second quickest in best consecutive 10-lap average.

Greg Engle