Nine wins, earning the 2020 Regular Season Championship, capturing 20 top fives with 1,531 laps led; it’s been an impressive season by any standard. But it was not enough for Kevin Harvick to advance to the Championship 4.
Even his rivals were stunned.
“It’s hard to fathom,” Kurt Busch said.
Martin Truex Jr. agreed, saying, “It’s insane.”
After having arguably the best year of his career, Harvick came up short when it mattered most. But while disappointed, he still characterizes this as “a great year.”
“We had a great year. Like I said earlier, they aren’t won the same way that Earnhardt and Petty did,” Harvick said. “You have to put together a few weeks and we didn’t put together these last few weeks like we needed to and just came up short.”
Harvick was one of the favorites heading into the race, ranked second in the standings. However, things began to go wrong in Stage 2 after contact with Matt Kenseth caused damage to his tire and he had to make an unscheduled pit stop. After going two laps down, Harvick fought to work his way through the field and finally was able to get back on the lead lap and into the top 10.
As it became apparent that he could not compete for the win, Harvick set his sights on gaining one point over Brad Keselowski to claim the last spot in the Playoffs. In a last ditch effort, he put his bumper to Kyle Busch, hoping to pass him and gain that one elusive point. Unfortunately, he spun out himself and Busch, ending his title run with a 17th place finish.
Though it was certainly not the ending he wanted, he is proud of what he and his team accomplished. From his point of view, losing the chance to compete for the championship title does not diminish his dominant performance on the track this season.
“We won nine races, had a great year, and, like I said, the championship is kind of a bonus,” Harvick explained. “It would be great to win it, obviously, but I’d rather go through the year and win races and do the things that we did and just came up short.”
With one race left in the 2020 season, Harvick has two goals – to win next week at Phoenix and to say goodbye to what has been a tumultuous year for everyone.
“It’s been a great racetrack for us and obviously that’s what we want to do. I just want to get the season over with.”