Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Second isn't close enough for NASCAR's Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick was second in 13 races last year, and in points too.

Kevin Harvick was second in 13 races last year, and in points too.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kevin Harvick is leading the Sprint Cup standings and appears on his way to another run at a NASCAR championship. He also could be laying the groundwork for another maddening season in which he dominates on the track until it's time to collect the hardware.

Harvick finished second a frustrating 13 times last season, including the finale at Homestead when he lost the championship to race winner Kyle Busch.

Harvick's 2015 numbers were astounding: 2,294 laps led, a 97 percent completion rate and 23 top-five finishes in 36 races. But in the winner-take-all format, being consistently second-best doesn't earn many trophies.

Harvick has had one of the strongest cars each week this season, but he has just one victory, at Phoenix, to show for 485 laps led. He was second at Fontana, where he led a race-high 142 laps. He led a race-high 131 laps at Atlanta but finished sixth.

Now the series shifts to Texas Motor Speedway, one of just four active tracks where Harvick has yet to win a Cup race, for tonight's Duck Commander 500.

Harvick isn't bad at Texas, and has won five times on the 11/2-mile oval in the Xfinity series and once in trucks. He just hasn't made it to Victory Lane in the Cup series despite six top-five finishes. He has led a combined 109 laps in his past three starts at Texas and has three consecutive finishes of third or better.

"I just don't think we've ever had a whole day come together for whatever reason at Texas," Harvick said of his Cup futility. "We've had good runs there in the past but just haven't gotten to Victory Lane. We just have to figure out how to get in there."

Edwards on pole: Carl Edwards became the seventh pole-sitter in seven Sprint Cup races this season, posting a lap of 194.609 mph Friday in the final round of qualifying for tonight. He has won three times at Texas. "My confidence level was pretty decent, but now it's really good," Edwards said. "It's up there." Joey Logano and Martin Truex both had qualifying laps of 193.306 mph. Logano starts on the front row beside Edwards, with Truex third. Rookie Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse fill out the top five spots. It is Edwards' 17th career pole, his second in 23 starts at Texas.

No more money: An upshot of the Sprint Cup's charter system is NASCAR's new policy of withholding drivers' earnings in race box scores, the Charlotte Observer reported. The charter system was announced in February and guarantees 36 Cup teams a certain amount of revenue in addition to prize money.

Sprint Cup points

Through six of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, will make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts Back

Kevin Harvick* 220—

Jimmie Johnson** 216 4

Kyle Busch* 215 5

Carl Edwards 206 14

Joey Logano 196 24

Brad Keselowski* 178 42

Austin Dillon 176 44

Kurt Busch 176 44

Denny Hamlin* 172 48

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 172 48

* Wins

Tonight's race

Duck Commander 500, 7:30, Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth

TV/radio: Ch. 13, 102.5-FM

Second isn't close enough for NASCAR's Kevin Harvick 04/08/16 [Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2016 9:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  2. Do Rays, Corey Dickerson have a 'second wind'?

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was the time in late May when Corey Dickerson hit a ball that bounced in front of the plate, swatted it for a double. He hit anything that moved wherever it moved. He was that good.

    Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Corey Dickerson (10) gets beat to the bag on the throw to first to end the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The Seattle Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
  3. Ex-Florida Gators QB Treon Harris will start at Tennessee State


    Former Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris is a starter again.

    At Tennessee State.

  4. Bucs position battles; Defining the receiver competition


    TAMPA — The Bucs' top four receivers are etched in granite with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and rookie Chris Godwin.

    Bucs wide receiver Josh Huff makes a juggling catch as cornerback Robert McClain closes in Tuesday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Cannon Fodder podcast: Looking back at Bucs-Jags, ahead to 'Hard Knocks'


    Greg Auman looks back on the weekend, with depth moves at tackle and cornerback, smart plays from Thursday's win in Jacksonville and what might be ahead on Tuesday's "Hard Knocks" episode on HBO, in …

    Greg Auman discusses the Bucs' win over the Jaguars in this week's Cannon Fodder podcast.