By this time last year, Kevin Harvick had six victories, and was dominating NASCAR. This season the 43-year-old has been searching for one win, and he is getting increasingly concerned.
In April, Harvick said he wasn’t worried that he hadn’t been in the winner’s circle. His attitude has changed, however. Last week in Michigan, Harvick voiced his dissatisfaction with the season so far.
“I am beyond all the frustration,” Harvick said. “To me, it is now a challenge just because I feel like this is very similar to 2014 and 2017.”
In those years, Harvick won races, he just didn’t win as many as he thought he should of captured. It is a much different scenario in 2019, but he is not going to compare last year to this one.
“Those are once or twice in a career-type seasons,” Harvick said. “When you look at all the race wins, it’s something I had never done before, and winning the All-Star race, it was a career year. You almost can’t even compare it to anything else we’ve done.”
Reasons for Streak
It’s not like Harvick’s year has been a disaster. True, he hasn’t won, but he has top-10 finishes in 12 of the 15 Cup Series races. Though it can be argued that his best performance is fourth, and he has only three stage wins. Harvick isn’t making any excuses for the season.
“In the end, our cars just weren’t fast enough,” Harvick said. “I think everybody has kept their head down and are looking at it as a challenge now. Aside from the second half of the Charlotte race, I think over the last month or so the cars are coming the right direction.”
Harvick did point to a strategic miscue that affected the early part of the season.
“Honestly, we just chose the wrong direction to start the year,” Harvick said. “Our cars weren’t where they needed to be and everyone realizes that as a company.”
Turning it Around
Fixing the situation has been a constant topic of discussion with Harvick, and the members of his Stewart-Haas racing team. When they came to Michigan last week, Harvick was encouraged by the progress.
“We had some situations where we were in position to win some races and had some things go wrong, whether it was my team or (teammate Clint Bowyer),” Harvick said. “Aside from the second half of the Charlotte race, I think over the last month or so the cars are coming the right direction.”
At last week’s Sonoma race, though, Harvick encountered another setback. His car had a problem with the steering box, and he ultimately finished sixth on the road course.
“I think the steering box issue is a new conversation that you have to look at all the suspension pieces and parts and everything that goes with it,” Harvick said. “Every week we are 12-18 miles per hour faster through the center of the corner. There is a ton more load on suspension pieces, spindles, wheels, steering boxes, front clips and everything that has to do with the car is under a lot more load. To me, the learning situation that came out of breaking the steering box is asking the questions about everything else. Obviously that was a topic of conversation.”
At Sunday’s Camping World 400 Harvick is a 9/2 pick behind 3/1 favorite Kyle Busch. Harvick will start the race in second position.