Kevin Harvick kept things real and put racing into perspective when discussing what it means for a NASCAR Cup Series driver to have a “bad day”.
While he may not have two wins in the first nine races of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season like Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, nobody has had a better start to the year than Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick.
The driver of the #4 Ford won NASCAR’s first race back amid the coronavirus pandemic at Darlington Raceway, and he has led the championship standings after each of the last six races, going back to his runner-up finish to Logano at Phoenix Raceway.
Harvick’s average finish so far this season is a series-best 6.00, 3.44 positions better than the second best average finish of Keselowski (9.44).
The 44-year-old Bakersfield, California native has just one finish outside of the top 10 this year, with that being an 11th place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway after a cut tire and contact with the #20 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones set him back from what easily could have been another top five result.
Before that incident, he hadn’t finished outside of the top 10 since last October.
But as you look at anybody’s season, there is always room for improvement. Asked by Beyond the Flag about what he feels he and his team could have done better through the first quarter of the season, Harvick discussed his near-win at Phoenix Raceway and his misfortune at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“I think as you look at the circumstances, I would love to have won Phoenix,” he said. “I think as it worked out to get my 50th win during the comeback at Darlington, things just work out for a reason. I think as I look at Phoenix, it’s just a race track that I feel like and we as a team feel like we should have a chance to win every time we go there. We did.
“Going there, Rodney [Childers] and myself had the conversations privately that this would be a great place to get that 50th win, to get the first win of the season. It didn’t happen, and we felt like we had the best car, so I always hate missing an opportunity to win. We had a great car at Bristol last week and blew a right front tire.”
But when assessing what could have gone better, Harvick also kept things real and put racing into perspective, a perspective amplified by the pandemic.
“If there’s one thing — post-pandemic break — back at the race track, I’m just really grateful that we’re able to go race,” he added. “I’m glad to be able to go do my job and still have a job and be able to put on a show for a lot of people that are sitting at home. Everything is just so much bigger than me and worrying about my bad days, because I always tell people, they’re like ‘man, sorry about your bad day.’ I say, ‘Don’t ever feel sorry for me. I drive cars for a living.’
“So my bad days don’t last very long. I usually get over them by the next morning and move on just because there are so many things that are going on that are just so much bigger than racing.”