They key to Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team’s continued success this season is to continually look ahead and not behind, crew chief Rodney Childers said.
Harvick won his fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season last weekend at Dover, Del., and as happened with Kyle Busch’s three consecutive wins this season, there is talk of peaking too soon with the playoffs months away.
“The biggest thing is we haven’t went back and talked about the races that we’ve won. We go back and we talk about how to get better every week, and we build better race cars and they build better engines, and we’ve done better on pit road,” Childers explained following the Dover win.
“To keep this going, we’re going to have to get a lot better every single week, and to keep it to where it needs to be when the championship comes around. Everybody is working hard. All the guys are building great cars, and Kevin is doing a great job here at the race track.”
Keep pushing forward
NASCAR teams never shy away from development throughout the season, especially those that are able to lock themselves into the playoffs early in the season with victories.
Both Harvick’s SHR organization and Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing can’t rest on what they have already accomplished if they hope to be just as competitive when the championship is actually decided.
SHR team co-owner Tony Stewart said he believes the company as a whole remains focused on moving forward.
“That us something I feel like our group is really good about, not losing that focus on the fact that we’re a technology-driven sport, and we have to keep pushing all the time to keep finding more things to go faster and be better than we were the week before,” Stewart said.
“We go back and we celebrate the wins, but instead of looking behind us at what we did, we look forward at what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to do the next week. That’s something that from the ownership side, for Gene (Haas) and I, we’re really proud of our group.
“It’s just a bunch of people that really have their eyes on the prize, so to speak. It’s days like (at Dover) when you can get four cars that are running as well as these four did, it’s an awesome feeling.”
The results so far speak for themselves.
Already this season, SHR has put all four teams in the Top 10 of a race for the first time and at Dover, three finished in the top-five – also a first for the organization.
SHR has five wins in 11 races – Clint Bowyer won the other – and all four drivers are ranked 11th or higher in the series standings.
“We’ll high-five each other at the shop,” Stewart said, “but at the same time, we’re digging for the next week and trying to get ready for Kansas now and trying to do the same thing again next weekend.”