Few drivers may be happier to arrive at Kansas Speedway than Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick. His three wins at the track ties NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for most ever and his three runner-up finishes are most of any driver in this week’s field.
Not only has Harvick been outstanding here in the past, he shows up this week in a highly-motivated championship mode. His 17th-place finish at Talladega last weekend – one of dozens of drivers collected in three large multi-car accidents – was his worst in nearly two months. He has five top-five finishes in the last seven races including a statement-making win from the pole position in the Indianapolis regular season finale.
And Harvick is an absolute favorite to earn his fourth victory of 2019 this weekend at the Kansas 1.5-miler where he’s already hoisted more hardware than any of his competitors. In 27 starts, Harvick has eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes – and won a series high five pole positions.
KANSAS CITY, KS – MAY 11: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Ford, leads the field during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 11, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
He’s led laps in 11 of the last 12 races – three times race-high numbers. That includes 104-laps out front in May when he finished 13th. He was 12th in last year’s Playoff race at Kansas – the two sub-10th-place finishes snapping a streak of five straight top-five runs.
Harvick joins Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman as the only drivers to have started all 27 Cup Series races held at the Speedway, which opened in 2001. Jeff Gordon won the track’s first two races in 2001-2002.
“I don’t really know [why],’’ Harvick said about his recent success at Kansas. “It’s a racetrack where I’ve won a couple races at and for whatever reason it just kind of fits my style and what we do with the cars.
“We’ve had a lot of good race cars there to capitalize on the good characteristics that fall into my driving style and we’ve been able to have some good results with it.’’