Kevin Harvick finds himself right on the bubble of the NEXTEL 'Chase for the Championship'. It is not a place the young Richard Childress Racing driver thought he would be with just five events left before the points are reset and only the top ten...
Kevin Harvick finds himself right on the bubble of the NEXTEL 'Chase for the Championship'. It is not a place the young Richard Childress Racing driver thought he would be with just five events left before the points are reset and only the top ten racers compete for the first NEXTEL cup.
Mechanical problems during the Pennsylvania 500 relegated Harvick to a 32nd place finish, and dropped him one spot from ninth to tenth in rankings, and now finds himself battling to hold on to a place in the top ten.
As the only RCR driver with a shot of competing in the 'Chase for the Championship' it puts added pressure on the No. 29 team to consistently garner good results. Although Harvick assures that the team is not being conservative.
"If you go conservative, the guys behind you are going to be wide open," commented Harvick. "I don't think you can do that. Usually you get yourself in more trouble when you're on the defense instead of the offense. You just have to go about your business and do what you have to do to win the race."
As the defending winner of the Brickyard 400, Harvick and the No. 29 team are looking to recapture the magic and rack up valuable championship points this weekend at Indianapolis.
"We've been working hard to get ourselves where we need to be for the 26 race stretch," Harvick commented. "But to go back and have it be a year later and know what we accomplished last year is really exciting.
"We've always run really well at The Brickyard. I think the worst we've finished has been 11th in three years that we've been there. It's a good race for us and exciting for us to go back knowing that we've won there."
So far, it's been a season of inconsistent results for Team 29, who at one points were as high as third in points. They have scored three top-five finishes, but six results of 20th or worse have seen them free-fall through the top ten in rankings.
In a season, where it has never been more important to find that early chemistry to catapult your team into a comfort zone inside the top-ten; Harvick's team is dangerously close to dropping out of the race if they can't garner good results for the next few weeks.
When asked about his season, Harvick was befuddled at their lack of luck, "It's confusing. Last week, we had probably the best car we've had all year and finished 13th. So we've just go to quit making mistakes and really finish the year out here pretty much mistake-free and just do what we have to do to show what we've got.
"I think we can do that. We've got a good race team and know that we've made a lot of mistakes. We've got to quit doing that. Different things have been going wrong. The last couple of weeks we've been really happy with the performance of the race car, but we've just made mistakes."
Harvick can't afford anymore mistakes.
Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne are both steaming forward to make their bid into the top ten. Mayfield sits just 40 points outside of 10th spot, while Kahne trails 10th by 69 markers.
Mayfield mirrors Harvick with just three top-fives, while Kahne dusts them both having grabbed six top-fives and four poles this season.