Racings Roy Hobbs

Old friend and mentor Chris Economaki may well be right when he says the driver is only 20 percent of the equation in modern-day racing.

Lord knows, he's right most of the time.

But it seems to me that if driving skill is just one-fifth of what makes a winning effort on the track, it's the critical one-fifth of the equation.

Knowing how to go fast is one thing. Knowing how to race - how to manage your equipment, your pit stops, and your passing - is what makes the difference between a champion and a guy who's out of racing in a few years.

Herewith, some thoughts on a driver who is doing some outstanding things in this new season.

With all the Winston Cup talk of big money, television, and the death of a legend, some great performances by relative newcomers are in danger of being overshadowed.

There's no NASCAR driver who's giving a better performance in the first half of the season than Kevin Harvick.

He's won in the Busch Series, and is a legitimate title contender in his second full season in BGN.

Much more impressively, he's done the near-impossible. He's stepped into the biggest set of driving shoes in the world, and he's gone to victory lane already.

Harvick started looking like racing's version of Roy Hobbs last year, in his maiden season with RCR. Now, he's looking like the second coming of Jeff Gordon.

Richard Childress deserves a major round of applause for taking a chance on the West Coast native last season, and a bigger round of applause for taking heat off the youngster by painting the Goodwrench Chevy white, and choosing a number that doesn't contain the digit "3".

Harvick, crew chief Kevin Hamlin, and the rest of the guys in the black uniforms look set to score at least a top-10 finish in the Cup points at the end of the year.

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