Kevin Harvick Aims to Add to Historic Record at Phoenix Raceway

Kevin Harvick is aiming to extend his NASCAR record tomorrow at Phoenix Raceway.
Kevin Harvick, Stewart Haas Racing
Kevin Harvick, Stewart Haas Racing

Tomorrow's race at Phoenix will wrap up the three-race west coast swing for the Cup series and the "king of the desert" is looking to close it out in style. Kevin Harvick is already set to ride off into the sunset later this season, but he has some unfinished business at his favorite race track.

Harvick is easily the winningest driver at Phoenix, with nine total victories. What is even more impressive is his streak of top-ten finishes at the 1-mile oval. Coming into this race, the Stewart Haas Racing driver has recorded 19 consecutive top-ten finishes at Phoenix. That is a NASCAR record, and one that Harvick would love to keep growing.

In addition to that incredible achievement, Harvick holds just about every record at Phoenix. In addition to his nine wins, he has 19 top-fives, 29 top-tens, 1,663 laps led, and an 8.7 average finishing position. He leads in all of those categories, which indicates that he clearly knows his way around this circuit.

"We’ve probably dominated Phoenix because we spent so much time there learning and tearing stuff up and doing the things you’re not supposed to do at the racetrack. It’s a track that we put a lot of emphasis on throughout the years because of the fact that we felt like some of our best race tracks were the flat tracks. It was always kind of a sense of pride to come here and run well because I know I have a lot of fans and friends that come to this place."

One of those people was his grandfather. "My grandpa and my uncle went to Phoenix every year to watch the Cup race. When I started racing here, my grandpa would go there three weeks early, and he’d drive his motorhome there and he’d park it right in the same spot. I drove the truck and trailer, and every time I’d get there, my grandpa would be smoking a cigarette, leaning against the chain-link fence, waiting for me to race. I knew if I didn’t go over and talk to my grandpa, he’d yell obnoxiously loud until I came over there. He was always the first one there and the first one you’d see every time you drove in."

Avondale has been a very memorable place for Kevin. His victory in the 2014 race put him in the Championship 4 where he then won the title. He says his fondest memory here came in 2002 when he won his first race in the Truck series, driving for his own race team.

Kevin Harvick Aims to Add to Historic Record at Phoenix Raceway

Although he has just one top-five finish and only led one lap in the last five races here, Happy Harvick should be just that when the green flag waves tomorrow. He qualified his No. 4 Mustang 15th, which is exactly where he started in 2006 when he won his first Cup race here at Phoenix.

Unlike his three Stewart Haas Racing teammates, Harvick has had a very good start to the season. Through the first three races, he has finished 12th, 5th, and 9th. Another top-ten would extend his record, but Harvick wants to win.

With a win tomorrow, Harvick would become just the sixth driver in NASCAR history to win at least ten races at one track. He would join Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Jimmie Johnson, David Pearson, and Dale Earnhardt on that elite list.

The records speak for themselves, and the statistics tell the story. Harvick though, doesn’t like to get into all of the numbers. "It feels somewhat arrogant and cocky to look at your own stats, especially when they’re good. I’m never going to tell you that I’m impressed with any of my stats, because I feel like they could be better. I never sit down long enough to let myself get engulfed in comparing stats to other people, because it makes me feel weird."

Harvick will gladly leave all of that talk to everyone else, and he hopes to give them even more to talk about after the checkered flag waves tomorrow in the desert.

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