Kevin Harvick: New race formats will impact strategy

Kevin Harvick (Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If there’s a consensus among NASCAR drivers, it’s that dividing races into stages, with points available at the end of each stage, will further tax the cunning of their crew chiefs.

“I think that’s the biggest thing,” said 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. “It’s going to change the strategy. I think there’s going to be a lot of strategy involved. Late cautions in segments or the timing of the segments… if there’s an early caution, do you stay out and gain the points and pit later? There’s going to be a lot of strategy that will mix the field up more than we’ve seen in the past…

“I think, as competitors, you always wanted to try and gain an advantage, and you have that opportunity to go out and grab those bonus points and gain as many as you can throughout the year. There’s really no time to relax, and I think that’s going to create a bit more of a chaotic atmosphere for the fact that there’s so much to get, and if you don’t aggressively go out and try and get those things, you’re going to get behind really fast.”

In Harvick’s view, the new format should suit his team, from driver to crew chief Rodney Childers on down.

“I think that fits our team well, just to the fact that we’re an aggressive bunch of people,” Harvick said. “We want to go out and lead laps. We want to go out and try to position ourselves as far forward as we can, because you just never know when it’s going to change and what’s going to happen. We’re definitely going to treat it aggressively and try and gain as many bonus points as we can.”