Kevin Harvick and Phoenix International Raceway go hand in hand. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Hass Racing Chevrolet will look to capture his 9th win at Phoenix this Sunday in the Can-Am 500. Harvick currently has 8 wins, including five of the last 6, at the 1-mile track.
Harvick, who is looking to lock himself in the Championship 4 in next weekend’s season finale, finished sixth in the rain shortened AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. The 40-year old driver finds himself sixth in the points, 17 points out of fourth place, and facing elimination from the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Harvick sounded anything but worried after the race at Texas. “We have done it I don’t know how many times… so we will just go there (Phoenix) and do what we always do and race as hard as we can,” noted the 2014 NSCS Champion.
Heading into this Sunday’s race Harvick finds himself in a similar position to that of his 2014 Championship season. In 2014 he had to win Phoenix, and do the same in the final race of the season at Homestead. The result? He did just that, sweeping the final two races to win his first Sprint Cup Series Championship and the second for Stewart-Hass Racing. Tony Stewart won the title in 2011 as owner-driver for SHR.
Despite history being on his side, Harvick is keeping an open mind going into Sunday. “I feel like that can be gone at any point,” Harvick said about any potential Phoenix advantage. “That’s the hardest thing about having success. You have to have an open mind to try new things to keep moving forward. If you don’t have an open mind or are not willing to try a fresh approach, then it will get stagnant. You’re going to become stale and get left behind.”
With Jimmie Johnson winning two weeks ago at Martinsville and Carl Edwards winning last week at Texas, two berths for the final race on November 20th at Homestead-Miami Speedway have been filled up. Only four drivers will compete for the Championship in the final race of the 2016 season. If Harvick can win this Sunday it will secure his place to run for a second title.
Four drivers – Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin are all separated by just two points with Logano and Busch in a deadlock for the final two spots. Stay tuned to see who advances to the final race on the season for a run at the Sprint Cup Series Championship. The race will air Sunday on NBC at 2:45 EST.