Kevin Harvick hasn’t found a way to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. At least not yet.
Harvick has come close multiple times throughout his career, and has had success in the lower series. He’s won five Xfinity Series races and one truck race at Texas.
But he’s 0-for-27 in Texas in his Cup career. The only track Harvick’s had more starts at without a win is Pocono Raceway (32). This year could be different for the driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet.
Harvick is starting third in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, and is feeling good about his chances after a solid practice and qualifying day Friday. A win would be significant since it would secure him a spot in the championship round later this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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“Just one of those places that we run well, just haven’t made it all happen,” Harvick said. “That stuff has a funny way of working itself full circle.”
Harvick pointed to his struggles at Kansas Speedway before that dam burst in the fall of 2013, and he went on to have another memorable win there last month that guaranteed him a spot in the Round of 8.
Harvick had a similar victory in the previous round at Loudon to make the Round of 12. In fact, Harvick is the only driver to advance in each round since NASCAR adopted this playoff format for the Chase in 2014.
Harvick won the inaugural championship under the knockout-style format, and he would love to add a second championship in three years. But he’s in a precarious position after a 20th-place run last week at Martinsville has him sitting sixth in points.
So, like he’s done in the previous rounds, Harvick essentially needs to win his way in.
“For us, we don’t really care what we did last week,” Harvick said. “We’re coming to this week and every other week we expect to come to the race track and have a chance to win. That’s really our approach.
“It’s not about points. It’s not about what happened last week. It’s about how do we win this week. It motivates everybody when you get a little bit behind. Even though we haven’t won here, I feel like this is a good race track to come to and next week [at Phoenix] is our best race track. Everybody’s jacked up.”
Harvick has finished runner-up twice at Texas, in consecutive races in the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015. He’s also led at least one lap in the past five races at TMS.
That’s part of the reason TMS president Eddie Gossage feels as though it’s only a matter of time for Harvick to break through with a Cup win.
Gossage compared Harvick’s struggles to those of Jeff Gordon, who didn’t win at Texas until his 17th attempt.
“Kevin Harvick is a guy I pick every year simply because of the numerology of it all,” Gossage said. “He has to be the guy because he hasn’t won it yet. He’s the guy. You’re just playing odds.
“I don’t know how you explain that. I just don’t get it. He should’ve been in Victory Lane a bunch of times. He’s great at mile-and-a-half tracks. It’ll be fun when he finally gets there.”
Gossage also feels as though Harvick has seen his fan base increase throughout the region. He endeared himself to several Texas racing fans for his role in the 2014 brawl between Gordon and Brad Keselowski. Harvick, who finished third, memorably shoved Keselowski into the fray and things escalated from there.
“You’ve got to love him for his role in that thing,” Gossage said. “Kevin said to Brad, ‘Don’t be walking away talking. Say it to his face.’ Good for him. He’s not afraid to step in.
“If I had to pick one guy I would not fight, Kevin Harvick would be the one ‘cause he’s got a little bit of crazy in him.”
Harvick smirked at the notion that incident might have brought him more fans in the area. Instead, Harvick credited his teammate and team owner, Tony Stewart, who has a loyal following in Texas.
“We’re in a unique position being on Tony’s team with Tony going away,” Harvick said. “He has a ton of fans who are very loyal and a lot of those fans are going to stay Stewart-Haas Racing fans and hopefully of the 4 car.”
AAA Texas 500
1 p.m. Sunday, KXAS/5