BUSCH: Harvick at historical crossroads

Kevin Harvick transcends the profile of a typical Busch series interloper. Harvick gained his props in NASCAR's junior league pretty quickly, taking the helm of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in 2000 and quickly making ...

Kevin Harvick transcends the profile of a typical Busch series interloper. Harvick gained his props in NASCAR's junior league pretty quickly, taking the helm of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in 2000 and quickly making a splash.

He won three races, finished third in points and earned Rookie of the Year honors. But it was 2001 that made Harvick a household name. After Dale Earnhardt perished in a last lap wreck in the Daytona 500, car owner Richard Childress asked Harvick to climb behind the wheel. The number was changed from 3 to 29 and a superstar was born.

His history making stance in NASCAR started that season. He became the first driver in NASCAR history to drive the entire Busch and Cup series schedules at the same time. He did it with great success, winning the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year title and the Busch Series Championship in the same year.

This year, Harvick is poised to make history once again.

He has run away with the Busch Series point lead and it is highly unlikely anyone would be able to match him with so little left in the season. That combined with his solid spot in the Nextel Chase for the Championship for the first time in his career; he is poised to be another note in the NASCAR annals.

If all continues to go well on the No. 29 RCR Chevy team this will be the first time in his career that Harvick will compete in the Chase for the Nextel Cup.

"It's a different kind of pressure for us this year because we have been on the outside looking in this is probably our worst tracks and so we haven't been too excited about coming here in the position we've been in," Harvick commented. "But we ran well at Michigan, which I feel is probably our second worst track compared to this one. And so it's probably going to be okay this year. But then everything has been better this year. We've run better everywhere and the cars have performed well. So hopefully we can have a good weekend and go to Richmond."

If Harvick can pull it off he could conceivably be the first driver in NASCAR history to be the Busch and Cup series champion simultaneously. Harvick is not locked into the Chase yet but something would have to go horribly awry with just two races left before the field is determined.

"The beginning of the summer was good to us," said Harvick. "Really, all through the summer we've been strong. The car has been strong all year. It's just that we had some bad luck at the beginning of the year and once we got rid of that and things started going okay and the performance of the cars was still okay. So (it was) probably after the first eight or 10 races after we shook some of that bad luck."

Harvick needs to be on point this weekend for the 500-mile event at California Speedway. His results on the two mile track are spotty. He finished 29th there earlier this year and in eight career starts he has just two top ten finishes.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick
Teams Richard Childress Racing