Peaking when it counts: Harvick’s team in top form entering Homestead

'Happy Harvick' has reason to be smiling after winning last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

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How do you prepare for a one-race, winner-take-all shootout in the final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season?

Well, you definitely don’t do anything different. What you did to get you to this final round is what you have to try to accomplish on Sunday once again.

And when I say that, all of these teams with the exception of Ryan Newman have won races, most recently Kevin Harvick at Phoenix. And that’s what they need to be thinking about doing.

Every week we go to the race track, all these teams, including Newman’s, are thinking about, how do we win the race? This is what we have to do to win the race: We try to come up with the best setup in the car and follow that up with the best strategy we can put together to accomplish that.

So, all you want to do is not try so hard to accomplish that that you create tension and make mistakes. In my opinion, the team that can function the best under these types of circumstances and perform and execute will be the one that comes out on top.

Does that mean they have to win? No. But they have to be able to beat the other three competitors.

Of the four teams remaining, I have been impressed with Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers since the beginning of the season. The planning that went into assembling this team by Tony Stewart and the people that they were able to put together in this organization for Harvick have performed unbelievably in a lot of ways.

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They’ve just been fast and they’ve worked through their problems. I think that they have honestly in a short period of time built a championship-caliber team.  And they did so under some adverse situations, a lot of distractions.

In the end, when they needed to perform, they made the right decisions as far as the pit crew, giving Kevin what he needed, and I think when it’s mattered the most, they’ve been able to perform the best.

In the Eliminator Round of the Chase, it solidified the fact that just when it looked like they were out, they responded with a sold runner-up finish at Texas and then they turned around and backed that up with a win at Phoenix.

I think they’re peaking at the right time, and I believe that Kevin Harvick is going to be in a position to accomplish what he left Richard Childress Racing for, and that’s to win a championship in his first year with Stewart-Haas.