Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, March 16, 2015, 9:37 a.m.
Kevin Harvick has lots of fans, and they’re happy today, as they’ve been happy for quite a while, and they’ve always liked that word. Their favorite driver has won twice this year, four times in the space of seven races dating back to 2014, and in the other three races, he’s finished second.
It’s so hard to digest, Harvick’s accomplishments are comparable to a mouth full of peanut butter.
In the current young season, Harvick’s average finish is a nice, quaint 1.5. The co-owner of his team, Tony Stewart, has a big, fat 36.0. Another teammate, Kurt Busch, has more points in one race (39) than the boss (32) in four.
Then there’s Danica Patrick.
Kevin Harvick and his crew chief, Rodney Childers, are dominating the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Stewart-Haas Racing is not.
Let’s forget whether you’re a fan of Harvick or not. It matters not where your sentiments lie, whether you’re a card-carrying citizen of Junior Nation or you live in a shack near the blinking caution light of Gilliland Gulch. Let’s just assume you’re in favor of tight, competitive racing and duels for the lead that go on for lap after lap.
Also, nice, long walks on the beach at sunrise.
It could be worse. Harvick’s finished first or second in seven consecutive races. Big deal. It’s been done before. Just 40 years ago, and Richard Petty, when he had his big, bad seven straight, heck, when the year was over, all he had to show for it was 13 victories.
And a championship.
Compared to the past, the significance of Harvick’s valiant early exploits, in terms of the hallowed Sprint Cup Trophy that will soon have another name, is minuscule. It’s said that golfers drive for show and putt for dough. (And, as Kurt Busch once said, everybody knows that NASCAR is just like golf.)
Yes, Harvick is pulling in his share, but the real dough is in the championship, and, by that standard, Harvick isn’t going to reach the green until September, and the putt that matters won’t be struck till Thanksgiving is nigh.
It just doesn’t matter … much.
Harvick could finish first or second in the first 26 races of the season, and a week later, he’d still have 15 other drivers, fortified by The Truly Great Wave-Around Also Known as The Chase. He can finish first or second nine more weeks in a row, and when it all ends at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he’s still going to have three other drivers dead even with him.
Resistance to the Chase is futile.
By the way, not even Harvick, the Sultan of Swagger, can maintain his current pace. This year he strode out onto the first tee flashing a “wood” made of rare metals and space-age polymers, and he’s hitting it so straight and true that the rest of the boys (and somewhere back there, a girl) are getting a little restless, but they all have the same wishful thought.
Let’s see how Harvick putts.
Last year he putted right well.
For more thought-provoking insight on the most recent race, you may find my latest Bleacher Report column instructive, or, of course, maybe not. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2398034-kevin-harvicks-early-nascar-domination-wont-do-him-much-good-come-chase-time
Take a look at my books (and, preferably, buy at least one) here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1