Kevin Harvick On Second Thought

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is looking to end his streak of four consecutive second-place finishes at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn by scoring his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season in Sunday’s Michigan 400.

Harvick’s streak of four consecutive second-place finishes at Michigan dates back to June 2013, when he was runner-up to Greg Biffle by 2.989 seconds. In August 2013, Harvick finished 1.018 seconds behind Joey Logano. In 2014, he followed Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon across the finish line in the June and August races, respectively. Four races, four second-place finishes to four different drivers.

Harvick also has finished second in the last two Sprint Cup races this season – at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. He started sixth at Dover and led 91 laps but was unable to catch Johnson on a green-white-checkered restart. Last weekend at Pocono, Harvick started fifth and led 39 laps but ran out of time in his attempt to chase down race-winner Martin Truex Jr.

Fourteen races into 2015, Harvick has scored 10 top-two finishes. That’s eight second-place finishes, plus wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, and he sits atop the driver standings with 559 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 1,162 laps with an average finish of 5.8. His 1,162 laps led are 503 laps more than the next-closest competitor – 659 by his SHR teammate Kurt Busch.

The Bakersfield, California native leads several other statistical categories: 126.7 driver rating, 10 top-five finishes, 13 top-10s, 24 bonus points, 738 fastest laps run, 20.1 percent of fastest laps run, 25.9 percent of laps led, 1,317.88 miles led, 4,171 laps in the top-15, 93.1 percent of laps in the top-15, average running position of 5.28 and an average finish of 5.8.

The reigning Sprint Cup champion has led at least one lap in 13 straight Sprint Cup points events in 2015. The only race he hasn’t led was the season-opening Daytona 500.

While the No. 4 team already has two Sprint Cup wins, is running at the front every weekend, leading in most statistical categories and is a virtual lock to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, the team is still trying to spend more time in victory lane.

This Sunday at Michigan, Harvick and the No. 4 team will continue their quest for wins that will generate maximum bonus points for when the Chase officially kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet in September.