Harvick finished third in the first three segments of the 2014 All-Star Race before going on to win the fourth to give him the highest average finish through the first four segments. NASCAR reset the field based on average finishing position through those first four segments prior to the final round of mandatory pit stops. Harvick came to pit road as the leader, but returned to the racetrack in third place behind Jamie McMurray and Carl Edwards.
On the restart to begin the fifth and final 10-lap segment, Harvick was able to clear Edwards but was unable to chase down McMurray, who beat him to the checkered flag by 0.696 of a second to score the more than $1 million top prize.
Heading into Saturday night’s 2015 Sprint All-Star Race, Harvick is hungry to gain that one final position and take home the $1 million top-prize for himself.
The reigning Sprint Cup champion is one of only three Sprint Cup drivers to have met each of following three of the six qualifying criteria for Saturday night’s All-Star Race – Sprint Cup race winner in 2014 or 2015, previous All-Star Race winner, Sprint Cup champion. He won five Sprint Cup races in 2014 and two in 2015, the 2007 Sprint All-Star Race and the 2014 Sprint Cup championship. The only other drivers to do so are Jimmie Johnson and SHR teammate Kurt Busch.
Eleven races into 2015, Harvick has been an all-star among all-stars. He has scored eight top-two finishes – including wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway – thus far in 2015. The only other driver in Sprint Cup history to have eight top-two finishes through the first 11 races of a season was Cale Yarborough in 1977
Harvick sits atop the driver standings with 437 points. His five straight Sprint Cup finishes of second or better to start the season is a series record. He has led a series-high 1,006 laps with an average finish of 6.2 thus far. His 1,006 laps led are nearly twice as many as the next-closest competitor – 541 by his SHR teammate Busch.
The Bakersfield, California native leads several other statistical categories: 126.7 driver rating, eight top-five finishes, 10 top-10 finishes, 21 bonus points, 574 fastest laps run, 20.3 percent of fastest laps run, 28.6 percent of laps led, 1,090.38 miles led, 3,209 laps in the top-15, 91.3 percent of laps in the top-15, average running position of 5.7, average finish of 6.2, and a pass differential of 213.
Harvick has finished either first or second in his last seven Sprint Cup starts on 1.5-mile racetracks. He has wins at Charlotte and Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2014 and Las Vegas in 2015 during that streak. He finished second at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in 2014 and Atlanta Motor Speedway, Texas again, and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in 2015, each time finishing second to Jimmie Johnson.
The 2007 Sprint All-Star Race winner has also seen success at every other type of Sprint Cup exhibition race. He won the first Budweiser Duel at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in 2013 as a qualifying race for the Daytona 500, and the Sprint Unlimited exhibitions at Daytona in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
With no points on the line this weekend, Harvick and his Rodney Childers-led crew can head to Charlotte feeling less pressure and welcome the opportunity to race for the $1 million top prize.