The FanShield 500 will take place Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. It’s only the fourth race of the year and every driver wants to win to secure his spot in the NASCAR playoffs, which begin in September.
But let’s be honest, every driver sees this Phoenix race as preparation for the Nov. 8 championship race which, for the first time ever, will have the final four drivers competing for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series title on the mile oval in the Arizona desert.
And no driver has been more successful at Phoenix than Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
He has a series-high nine career Cup Series wins at Phoenix, including five with SHR, topping a list that shows Jimmie Johnson next-best with four, Kyle Busch with three, and Davey Allison, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin with two each.
Harvick has won seven of the last 15 Cup Series races at Phoenix. He is the only driver to win four in a row as he won the November 2013 race, swept the 2014 races and won in March 2015 before ending his streak with a runner-up finish in November 2015. Johnson is the only other driver with a three-race streak at Phoenix, when he won the November 2007 race and swept the 2008 races.
Only five drivers have won consecutive Cup Series races at Phoenix and Harvick is the only driver to win consecutive races twice, having also swept both races in 2006.
He’s scored a perfect 150.0 driver rating at Phoenix on three occasions. His first was in November 2006, when he started second, led 252 of 312 laps and reached victory lane. His second was during his November 2014 win, when he started third and led 264 of 312 laps. His third came during his March 2015 win, when he started first and led 224 of 312 laps.
Harvick has finished outside the top-10 only once since March 2013 and has only three finishes of 11th or worse since April 2010.
And in 2020, his season has started out strong as he has qualified and finished in the top-10 in all three races thus far. He is third in the driver points, just 12 behind leader Ryan Blaney.
Harvick is hoping to get his 10th victory at Phoenix, clinch his playoff spot and, most importantly, be good at the mile oval as he goes for the biggest prize in all of NASCAR in eight months.