Of course Kevin Harvick believes he can win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, it shouldn’t be any other way.
Regardless of how you get to the Championship 4, Harvick believes that’s the mindset that’s necessary for success.
“Our intention is to go down there and win the championship, and I think if you’re one of those four and you don’t have that mentality, you’re not prepared for what you’re getting into,” the 2014 series champion said.
“I feel like you’re going to have to win the race (to win the championship). You’re going to have to not make mistakes, and we’ve seen it year after year – mistakes and circumstances and things happen.
“You have to have a chance, and you have to think you can do it, and we know we can do it.”
This season hasn’t been the best for Harvick during his tenure at Stewart-Haas Racing by any means, but he and his No. 4 Ford team have peaked when it mattered most.
Their performance at Texas Motor Speedway – a 1.5-mile track like Homestead – was their strongest of the season and the victory locked them into the Championship 4. Harvick’s only other win this season came on the road course at Sonoma Calif.
But he has been among the most consistent performers during the playoffs, finishing eighth or higher in seven of the nine races so far. Harvick completed the Round of 8 with a win and a pair of fifth-place finishes.
“This has by far been our best round, all three top-fives and a win, so it’s the right time of year to be peaking,” he said.
Considering the obstacles Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing organization faced this year with an offseason swap from Chevrolet to Ford, having a chance for a second series championship is almost a bonus.
“I think for us, I think you’re really, really happy with where you are just for the fact of I think as a company we know what we went through,” he said.
“We are kind of playing on house money at this point, so we’re going to go down there and wing it, see what happens.”
In reality, the four drivers competing for the series title – Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski are the others – have been among the strongest teams all season.
They also have plenty of experience. Busch, Keselowski and Harvick are past champions and Truex has been the most dominant performer this season.
“These guys are not just going to cave in and give up on what they’re doing. Three of us have won championships, and Martin has won a lot of races this year. The pressure is really on (Truex and Busch). Those guys have dominated the year,” Harvick said.
“I feel like if they don’t win at this point, they would probably feel like they’ve had a letdown. It’s a lot of fun coming from behind and playing catch‑up. Playing that underdog role is much easier than being expected to go down there and win. We expect to win.”