Kevin Harvick has 10 races remaining with RCR and for him to exit with his first Sprint Cup title would be fitting.
By ANTHONY ANDRO FS Southwest
Maybe the only logical conclusion for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship to end this year would be for
Kevin Harvick to win the title.
The driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet wouldn't mind.
Harvick, who started the season as a lame-duck driver, has just 10 races remaining with Richard Childress Racing and for him to exit with his first Sprint Cup title would be fitting. After all, the Chase already is without the defending Sprint Cup champion (
Brad Keselowski), a driver who initially qualified for the Chase (
Martin Truex Jr.) and it includes a five-time champ who hasn't finished higher than 26th in his last four races (
Jimmie Johnson). Throw in three drivers who are leaving their current teams after this year (Harvick,
Ryan Newman) and the Chase adds some more intrigue.
So there's no reason why Harvick, who heads to Chicagoland Speedway fourth in points, can't win his first Cup title.
At least that's the way he sees it.
"We really don't have anything to lose," said Harvick, who was at Texas Motor Speedway Wednesday as part of the track's Sept. 11 tribute to first responders. "Really before the season started everybody anticipated this being a disaster and us not being competitive and doing the things we've done. This puts all that pressure aside and lets us go out and hopefully prove to everybody that we can win a championship and do the things we've done all year."
All Harvick's done this year is win two races and put together 13 top-10 finishes in his final year with the team.
Harvick knew before the season that he wasn't going to be with RCR next year but both he and his team were determined the off-track concerns weren't going to spill over on race weekends even though rumors that he was leaving the team started last fall.
"You just never know how it's all going to come together," he said. "Our team's done a great job and I think the way we handled the conversations of moving on and the way we did everything I think a lot of the emotions we over with through the winter and we were able to get back to being able to get back to being able to race and focus on what we needed to focus on when we got to Daytona this year."
That's not an easy thing to do, especially with the stakes so high and the first sign of trouble could give Harvick critics a chance to pounce.
Harvick and the RCR team never allowed that to happen, even after the July news became official that Harvick would be running for Stewart-Haas Racing next year.
"Everybody had a lot to lose when we started the year, especially from a credibility point," he said. "Myself and Richard had a lot to lose as far as how we handled the situation. Everybody was obviously looking at us and waiting for disaster to happen and it hasn't happened. From everybody's standpoint, we had a responsibility to all of our sponsors to go out and perform and represent them and make sure they got their money's worth and you owe it to all the guys on the race team who don't really care about the politics of the sport. They want to go to the racetrack and win races. I put some thought into how I wanted to handle it. I think it's all gone well."
Harvick, who finished third in the Chase in both 2010 and 2011, likes his chances in the Chase. He's had success at many of the tracks including Chicago, where he has two victories and seven top-10 finishes.
Harvick knows that they key for his team will be consistency over the next 10 weeks. Getting off to a good start wouldn't hurt either.
"It's definitely wide open for sure," he said. "It will come down to who can get some momentum over the last 10 weeks and capitalize on their performance. We've won at a lot of tracks we're coming to and I honestly feel we can win at any given track. It's just a matter of putting it all together for 10 weeks."