The King of the Desert hasn't always been the King, he's earned it, just like what he's trying to do with a Championship 4 position.
Harvick has the most all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins at Phoenix's ISM Raceway with 9. He also has led 1,522 laps in Arizona, all from 2006 to present. Harvick’s first win in the desert came in the Spring of 2006, where he led only 10 laps of the 312. When the NASCAR Cup Series came back to town in the fall, Harvick won once again, leading 252 laps this time. Harvick led 54 in the Spring of 2007 but ended up with a 10th-place result. Harvick wouldn't lead again until he led a singular lap led in Spring 2011. Harvick finished 4th that day, his best finish since his Fall 2007 victory.
In the Spring of 2012, Harvick led 88 laps and finished second to Denny Hamlin. Harvick would head to the Playoff race that season, looking for his first desert trophy in nearly 6 years in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS). Harvick’s 2012 win was foreshadowed by Jeff Gordon’s intentional dump on Clint Bowyer shortly before the white flag, which led to a garage area brawl. Once the race got restarted in NASCAR Overtime, a spin by Danica Patrick caused oil to leak from her car, however the oil in setting sun couldn’t be seen by NASCAR, and the track remained green, with Harvick sliding across the line in first, and a gaggle of cars on fire and torn up crossed the line behind him. While Harvick only led 15 laps that day, a familiar Kevin Harvick in Phoenix was born. With his swap from Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) on the near horizon, Harvick’s penultimate race with RCR ended in victory circle. Carl Edwards’ Roush Fenway Ford ran out of fuel shy of two laps to go, which promoted a 68-lap leader of Kevin Harvick back to the top spot.
In just his second race at SHR, Harvick took Rodney Childers and the Jimmy John’s crew to victory lane after a lead total of 224 laps. Since the Spring 2014 victory, Harvick has continued his dominating traditions. Harvick swept the 2014 season at Phoenix, won the Spring 2015 event and finished second in November. Another win came in 2016 Spring race, followed by a fourth-sixth-and fifth place finishes up until his redemption victory in the Spring of this season. Harvick’s “redemption” was from the week prior, where Harvick won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, however, NASCAR ruled the win “encumbered” after an illegal and bent in windshield. Harvick only led 38 laps in April, but when the bull gets messed with, he gives the horns.
Will Harvick keep his 3 point gap over SHR teammate, Kurt Busch, this weekend at ISM Raceway and lock himself into the Championship 4 for a bid at just his second MENCS title?
The Can-Am 500 is Sunday, November 11 at 3:30PM EST on NBC.