Point to prove: Motivation a big factor in Harvick’s early success

Veteran Kevin Harvick is in his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing.

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We saw Saturday night at Darlington a simply dominating performance from Kevin Harvick. I know it’s an old cliche but it sure fits in this case — "What a difference a year can make." In eight races so far this season, he already has two wins and has almost led as many laps already as he led all of 2013.

I think there are many parts of this puzzle that are all adding up to make this a special season for Kevin. I see the Stewart-Haas organization, Kevin and crew chief Rodney Childers are all highly motivated. This is Kevin’s first year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series where he isn’t driving for Richard Childress Racing, so it’s only human nature to want to go out and be successful with your brand new team. I think Rodney Childers, who came from Michael Waltrip Racing, feels he’s never had the chance to fully showcase his talents. Now he has a chance to really shine and so far he’s taking advantage of that.

Stewart-Haas Racing expanded from three teams to four in the offseason. Two of the four drivers are new to the organization. Three of the four crew chiefs are new to the organization. When you combine all these highly competitive and motivated people with the resources not only Stewart-Haas has to offer but also with the alliance with Hendrick Motorsports, you can bet success is just around the corner. Speaking of success, do you realize that now Stewart-Haas has already won three of the eight races that have been run this season? That’s pretty remarkable.

The sky is the limit when it comes to the potential of this organization. To me, Kevin is by far one of the more underrrated drivers out there. Some folks think he can win a few races but can never put it all together to win the championship. I think that is a big factor in Kevin’s motivation this year to prove everybody wrong. I think Kevin finally has the best opportunity to win that NASCAR Sprint Cup championship that has eluded him all these years.

I easily see Kevin as the main competitor standing in Jimmie Johnson’s way of winning his seventh championship. The way they are running, that No. 4 car can challenge anyone in the garage area right now. This race car and this race team are fast and competitive every single week. Go back and look at all eight races. But for some mechanical gremlins, they easily could be sitting on four wins and not just two so far.

They’ve simply been that good in 2014. This driver, crew chief, team and organization believe they can win every weekend. I’ve "been there,  done that," and, trust me when I tell you that it is half the battle. When you have that mental confidence and motivation, you have a big leg up on the competition. Like Darrell Waltrip always used to say back in the day about the competition, "They are in trouble and don’t even know it!"