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Harvick Aims for Four in a Row in California


Harvick Aims for Four in a Row in California

Author: Anonymous 

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Can Kevin Harvick make it 4 in a row? After taking the checkered flag three times in a row in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and the ISM raceway, Harvick is posed to accomplish something that hasn’t been done since Jimmy Johnson won four NASCAR races in a row back in 2007. Harvick is the first to win three straight since Joey Logano in 2015. The record for consecutive wins is ten, set by the legend Richard Petty back in 1967.

The odds to win the next NASCAR race are on Harvick up to the moment, the Auto Club 400 in sunny southern California on March 18, are pretty good. He is racing like a madman as of late, finishing fifth place or better in his last eight races. Harvick also leads the NASCAR standings with 168 points, twelve ahead of Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr, who are tied for second with 156 apiece.

The Auto Club 400 is a bit of an anomaly in the NASCAR circuit. Only since 1997 has it been a permanent fixture in the NASCAR schedule, and even since becoming a fixture, it has not been considered a traditional race, as the date of the race has fallen anywhere between late April and mid June. The distance of the race has changed too; until 2011 it was a 500 mile race, and has since changed to 400. Winners of the race have almost exclusively been the big name drivers, as a list of the winners since the turn of the century reads like a list of modern-day NASCAR greats, with names like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace (not to mention Kevin Harvick in 2011). In recent years, the race has gone long due to cautions that arise towards the end of the competition. The 2015 edition of the Auto Club 400 saw two attempts to finish the race, with the drivers having to go an extra nine laps before Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag.

Taking all of that into consideration, there is at least a decent chance that Harvick comes away with his fourth consecutive victory next Sunday in Fontana, CA. He is one of the dominant names in NASCAR over the last couple years, and already has one victory there under his belt.

Harvick will also likely be driving with a chip on his shoulder. The victory at ISM, Harvick’s 40th of his career, was somewhat of a statement win as Harvick was harshly penalized in the prior race in Vegas for a rear window infraction, which cost him 20 driver points, while the owner was docked 20 owner points, his Crew Chief Rodney Childers was penalized $50,000 and Car Chief Robert Smith was suspended for two races.

The infraction came as a result of the material of Harvick’s braces and the rigidity of Harvick’s window. NASCAR stipulates that that rear window glass must be rigid in all directions at all times and the panel extension must be made of aluminum, neither of which were the case when NASCAR did its post-race evaluation of Harvick’s car.

Apparently the issue was brought up during the race by fellow racer Chase Elliott, who spotted the infraction and mentioned something to his crew chief. Elliott would later downplay the effect of the window, but by that time the damage had been done. Childers went on record to say that the infraction was unintentional, and that the team would learn from the mistake.

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