Three reasons Kevin Harvick fans shouldn't worry
Let's not mince words here: Kevin Harvick had an awful day at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Sunday, when an engine issue relegated him to a 38th-place finish and dropped him to 12th in points, last among the drivers still in the hunt to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
For some drivers and their fans, such a disastrous start to the Round of 12 might be cause for alarm or even panic. Not so for Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team.
Here are three reasons Harvick fans shouldn't be worried right now.
3. This is nothing new
In 2014, Harvick faced elimination from the Chase if he didn't win in the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix. Not only did he win that race, he won the final race of the year at Homestead to take the championship.
Last year, Harvick faced another elimination race at Dover. He dominated there to score an easy victory and advance to the next round.
This team has been there and done that. They are not rattled or intimidated by having their backs to the wall. In fact, you can argue pretty convincingly that they are the best team in NASCAR in must-win situations.
2. Harvick's cars have speed
Sounds obvious, right? But week in and week out, Harvick's Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolets are among the cars to beat. They are fast most everywhere, unlike some of the other drivers fighting to advance in the Chase.
At Kansas Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series will race on Sunday, Harvick has one victory and three runner-up finishes in the last six races. SHR and crew chief Rodney Childers will field another strong bullet this weekend.
1. He doesn't need to win to advance
Yes, Harvick is 12th in points right now, last among the Chase drivers. But he's only 8 points out of eighth place. A lot of other Chase drivers encountered serious problems at Charlotte on Sunday, bunching up the tail end of the field.
If Harvick can put together a couple of strong races this week at Kansas and next week at Talladega, he stands an excellent shot to move into the Round of 8.
Harvick doesn't absolutely have to win, he just needs a couple of top fives and he'll be fine. Given his track record, it would be wise not to bet against him.