Harvick: Winning a Cup title today "is a much different style"

NASCAR seems in a constant state of change these days and how it determines its series champions has undergone plenty of revisions as well.

Harvick: Winning a Cup title today "is a much different style"
Race winner and 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet celebrates with Tony Stewart, DeLana Harvick, Gene Haas and the full team
2014 champion Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Race winner and 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet celebrates
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Race Winner Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Beer National Forest Foundation
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Light Apple
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Light Apple, Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro ChevyGoods.com/Adam's Polishes
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Race Winner Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Race Winner Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Race Winner Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Mobil 1

Even though drivers like Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin have proven this season to be consistent contenders for wins – together amassing 13 in the Cup Series regular season – there are no guarantees on closing the year with a series title.

Long gone are the days of amassing points over the course of a 30-something race season and even with the advent of a “playoff format” in 2004, only more recently has the series championship been decided by a winner-takes-all season finale race.

A different approach

While Harvick, who clinched the Cup Series regular season title following race No. 25, is still a favorite to be one of the four drivers competing for the championship at Phoenix Raceway in November, topping three other contenders in one race remains a novel concept.

“Winning a championship today isn’t how Earnhardt and Petty did it,” said Harvick of seven-time Cup champions Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. “I think it’s a much different style of winning a championship than what it used to be.

“When you look at the point standings from this year, you see why the playoffs were put into effect in trying to make sure that we had an intriguing 10 weeks of racing as we went toward the end of the year. It’s very difficult to get yourself to the last race of the season and be one of those four cars and trying to be able to race for let alone win a championship.

“It’s very difficult to put yourself in that position and once you get there be able to put everything together against the other three guys on one particular day, especially when it’s been at the same race track (Homestead-Miami Speedway) every season that we’ve gone about it this way.”

A change in the schedule

Homestead has hosted the Cup Series finale every year NASCAR has had a playoff system but this year the finale (and now title race) has moved to Phoenix.

Since last season, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway have also replaced Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Homestead in the 10-race playoff lineup, vastly changing the playoff makeup.

“Moving those race tracks and changing the venues and keeping it mixed up has made it very intriguing for the fans and very difficult from a competitor’s standpoint with navigating the last 10 weeks of the season,” Harvick said.

“Having it all work out is just very difficult.”

On top of the changes already announced coming into this season, NASCAR now operates under protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic which for the remainder of the year means no practice or qualifying in its three national series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks.

It’s also seen an assortment of double-headers, new venues and shortened race lengths utilized in order to fill the entire schedule.

Harvick said his No. 4 team’s performance this season under those circumstances, including all four Stewart-Haas Racing teams qualifying for the playoffs, is a huge accomplishment in itself.

“Our biggest focus is trying to be competitive week-in and week-out, win races, which we’ve done over the first 26 weeks and that’s our goal to continue forward and do those things,” Harvick said. “To have it all come together like it has says a lot already about our organization and the things that we’ve been able to accomplish in extreme circumstances.

“So, winning a championship in this particular year would say a lot about the people, but being able to be competitive week-in and week-out and win races says a lot about the people already."

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

Bowyer hopes to be "part of this sport in any way" in 2021
Previous article

Bowyer hopes to be "part of this sport in any way" in 2021

Next article

Chase Elliott: "We can compete with whomever" in playoffs

Chase Elliott: "We can compete with whomever" in playoffs
Load comments
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021