Kevin Harvick's crew needs to fix issue if they want to win championship

September 6, 2016

Probably my only regret from Darlington Raceway's throwback weekend was that I wasn't able to be there.

We went to visit our youngest daughter who just started college and then our son, Brandon, was racing. So unfortunately, I couldn't be there to experience all the excitement that Darlington had to offer.

What is so impressive to me is how the entire community and the NASCAR industry has embraced the retro theme. Don't get me wrong, everyone absolutely loved it last year but what I saw in watching the race on TV was that they took it to a whole new level this year.

I thought it was special to see some of the older racers there and to see all the NASCAR Hall of Famers there. The smiles on their faces were priceless. To me, that right there was worth all the effort that everyone put into making the weekend special.


Seeing Bobby Allison with Tony Stewart smiling from ear lobe to ear lobe makes it all worthwhile to me. These are guys that played such a huge role in getting our sport to where it is today and to see them honored in so many ways was awesome.

The race itself had me captured pretty much the whole time.

I don't know what else we can say about Kevin Harvick. Yes, I feel bad for Kevin but I also feel equally bad for the team. This team isn't deliberately making mistakes on purpose.

With that said though, I've always maintained that one time is an incident, two times is a coincidence, but three or more times is a trend or pattern that has to be addressed.

Unfortunately, we are well past the three or more times of pit stop woes of Kevin Harvick.

Kevin has a great problem. He has now been with Stewart-Haas Racing for two and two-thirds years. He's won a championship, he's won 10 races and finished second 23 times. Without some of the issues on pit road, Kevin probably would have won half of those 23 times he finished second.

The bottom line is if the No. 4 crew is going to be a 2016 championship contender, they have to fix this issue and fix it now. Sure you can keep swapping people out, but somewhere, sometime you have to ask yourself "what are we really battling here?" Let's face it, there is nothing Kevin Harvick can do from behind the wheel of his No. 4 car to fix these problems.

I think Sunday night was really special for race winner Martin Truex Jr. This is the first time in his NASCAR Cup career that he has had a multi-win season. What's also special for his team is that as an organization they have now won four races and believe it or not, two of those are in the Southern 500 at Darlington.

Also he Jimmie Johnson saga continues. In the last 12 races he's only had one top-five finish, three top-10 finishes and five finishes of 32nd or worse.

Once again, totally uncharacteristic of Jimmie, he spins out all on his own at Darlington.

What I did see Sunday night was pretty typical. The drivers who were up front "get it" that you don't worry about what your competitors are doing, you simply race that race track. Darlington Raceway is your biggest competitor in the field. The ones that got over-zealous were the ones that caused those cautions.

I hate that we only go to Darlington once a year, but at the same time that may be what makes it special. It's the oldest speedway on the circuit, so there's a lot to be said with keeping it to just once a year on Labor Day weekend.