Harvick seeks to end season of trouble with championship
Kevin Harvick has always followed the path that best suits him, even when it created unnecessary chaos for him and his race team.
He picked fights with fellow competitors in spectacular fashion – Harvick grabbed Greg Biffle by the throat, jumped on the hood of Ricky Rudd’s car, used moves learned as a high school wrestler to toss aside Carl Edwards – and showed little care for consequences.
Then he became a father and learned to channel his anger.
“If I was jumping over the hood of a car right now, went into my house, had a 6-year-old … do you know how embarrassed I would be to walk in the front door and answer that question, ‘Hey, dad, why did you jump over that guy’s car, grab him by the throat?’ ” Harvick said. “Then it would get more embarrassing as you take him to school, drive through the carpool lines to see his teachers that are all watching, as well.”
Harvick remained calm a week ago when a flat tire nearly deflated his remarkable season. He has eight victories this year, tied with Kyle Busch for most in the Cup Series, but a cheating violation cost him his automatic berth into Sunday’s championship race. Harvick and the No. 4 team had to requalify at Phoenix, and that early tire problem could have ended his bid.
But he kept his composure, listened to interim crew chief Tony Gibson’s instructions and salvaged a fifth-place finish that put him back in NASCAR’s championship field. Harvick credited the growth he’s had during an 18-year career that has him eligible for a second Cup title.
Everything Harvick has worked for this year will be decided in three hours Sunday. But if the race doesn’t go his way, it won’t ruin the season.
“You want to win the championship because obviously you think it would be icing on the cake with everything that you’ve accomplished,” Harvick said. “But it’s just not that easy. There’s nothing that’s going to devastate us to the point of not being able to function any more, but to go along with everything we’ve done this year, it definitely would seem fitting to add that to the year end.”