CONCORD Kevin Harvick dares you to count him out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Third in the standings after winning at Kansas last weekend, Harvick feels like he’s in pretty good shape in the Chase, despite trailing leader Matt Kenseth by 25 points. And besides, things have been much worse this season for Harvick, who made the Chase despite finishing 42nd in the season-opening Daytona 500.
“Everybody has written us off from the beginning of the year to not be in the Chase, let alone competitive and winning a race in the Chase,” said Harvick, who qualified second-fastest Thursday night for Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We will just keep bucking the system and hopefully it works out.”
Harvick is coming off a dominant weekend at Kansas, where he won the pole and the race. It was just the sixth pole of his 13-year Cup career – but he has won three times from that position.
“Obviously last week went about as well as you could write it down on a piece of paper for us,” said Harvick. “Sitting on the pole and winning the race is a little bit out of character for us from what we have done in the past. But it gives us a lot of confidence in the things that we can and need to do to keep ourselves in position to continue to race for this championship for the next few weeks.”
Harvick didn’t bounce back quickly from Daytona, where he wrecked on Lap 48. A ninth-place finish at Las Vegas in the season’s third race was his only top-10 until he broke through with a victory at Richmond, Va., in April.
Despite finishing 40th the next week at Talladega, Ala., Harvick smoothed things out the rest of the regular season, winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May.
That was Harvick’s second victory at Charlotte, a track where he struggled early in his Cup career. In 25 starts, he has just eight top-10s.
“A few years ago, one of our goals was to figure out what we need to do” at Charlotte, said Harvick. “We have focused a lot on trying to not have that be a stigma that sticks in our minds as come to this particular place.”
Harvick said this season’s new “Gen 6” car has suited him well at tracks such as Charlotte.
“We have run a lot better since the car changed; I think for us that was a good thing,” he said. “It created new set-up packages and things that fit more of my driving style and the things that I felt in the car were better when we switched.”
Although Harvick isn’t leading the points, he’s in a better place than many thought he’d be in earlier this season.
“You are going to get some bad breaks and it’s just how you overcome those,” he said. “Then you get the good breaks and it’s how you capitalize on those.”