After slow start (by his standards), Harvick is on a roll

NKP #4: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Beer / Big Buck Hunter and #19: Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops

As many predicted, getting that first victory of 2019 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway six weeks ago may have been the boost Kevin Harvick needed to make a true Playoff run. He has 16 top-10s through the opening 25 races, but since that first win, he has five top-10 finishes (and another win at Michigan) in the last six races. The only sore spot on this run was a 39th place at Bristol two weeks ago after his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford suffered a clutch problem.

Harvick answered that tough day with a fourth-place result at Darlington on Sunday night and is also in fourth place in the points as the regular season closes this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Harvick is always a favorite.

He has an impressive 12 top-10 finishes, best in the field, in 16 starts at Indianapolis and won from the pole in 2003. Harvick has finished eighth or better in the last five races there, including finishing fourth last year. He’s led laps in three of the last five races.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been a special venue for Harvick, who grew up in Bakersfield, Calif. – also home to four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears. To win at the same track as his lifelong racing hero has a sentimental value unlike any other place the series races.

“For me, I grew up in Bakersfield, California, as a Rick Means fan,’’ Harvick said. “Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as a child, that was your racing dream. That was where you wanted to race. I’ve been fortunate to have won the Brickyard 400 and kind of live out that childhood dream.

“There is a mystique and history, and everything you can think about in racing that has happened for over 100 years has happened at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. … I always feel like it is one of the most special places that you can race because that is all I wanted to do as a kid.’’


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