Harvick Eyes Hot Streak in Vegas

Harvick

Kevin Harvick topped the test session on Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway - the first 1.5-mile track of the season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick is looking to follow-up his Phoenix win with a another this weekend in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Harvick rolled into Victory Lane last week at Phoenix International Raceway in only his second career start for Stewart-Haas Racing.  He led 224 laps on his way to a dominating win in The Profit on CNBC 500 as a follow-up to an ultimately disappointing start to the season when - despite having a fast car - was swept up in a last-lap crash at Daytona.

But with two races in the books, Harvick has reason for much optimism around his No. 4 team and the entire SHR organization.

"It’s a huge credit to the team, the organization and everybody who has been a part of this process as we’ve gone through the winter and over the last couple months of last year," Harvick said of his Phoenix win.  "To see the amount of change within Stewart-Haas Racing with the car, the haulers, the pit boxes, everything that has come with putting all these pieces together is really just a huge credit to these guys and all the guys who work in the shop."

In some ways, Harvick can feel a little vindication for the early-season win.  There was some skepticism in the off-season about how he’d fit in at the new-look SHR organization, which added Harvick and Kurt Busch to the stable this year.

Harvick says he never had any doubt about his decision to leave Richard Childress Racing for SHR, even if there were some unknowns going into the move.

"There’s been a lot of skepticism as we’ve gone through the off-season," Harvick admitted.  "For me, I heard it, I paid attention to it during the off-season.  But as we’ve gone through the first few weeks, you try to put yourself in your own little world.

"All in all, Gene (Haas, SHR co-owner) has given us every resource that you can imagine.  Tony (Stewart) has been very supportive of whatever we wanted to do.  Rodney (Childers, crew chief) has put together a group of guys who believe in what we’re doing.

"You’re only as good as the people you have around you.  I’m honored to have driven the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet into Victory Lane in Week 2.  It’s quite an honor to be a part of that."

Now, Harvick sets his sights on a second consecutive win in Sunday’s Kobalt 400, the first 1.5-mile race of the season.  He’s never won at LVMS and in 13 Sprint Cup starts at the track, he has three top fives, five top-10 finishes and has led 58 laps.  He does have a pair of Nationwide wins to his credit.

In order to break into the win column Sunday, Harvick will have to overcome the challenge of NASCAR’s new 1.5-mile rules package, which gets its first on-track competition this weekend, as well as other changes like the new no ride-height rule.  He believes both will play a factor in deciding this week’s outcome.
 
"So it’s a whole different thought process than it was last year," said Harvick.  "And, as we found out at Daytona in the Sprint Unlimited, the main thing you have to pay attention to is being able to get the tires off the car on a pit stop.  So, we had to adjust for that during the rest of Budweiser Speedweeks a little bit.

"I know they’ve worked hard on it, but things happen a lot more aggressively coming into the pit stall.  Everything is hot so you’ve just got to make sure that’s right."

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kevin Harvick

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