Harvick going full-throttle in final season with RCR

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So much for 2013 being a lame-duck campaign for Kevin Harvick.

Harvick is in the final season of his run with Richard Childress Racing before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing for next year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. But the driver of the No. 29 Chevrolet has been doing anything but going through the motions, and his victory in the Coca-Cola 600 last weekend at Charlotte – his second victory and third Top-5 result in the last four races – seemed to be a moment where the point was driven home: Harvick is bent on doing big things for RCR before he walks out the door.

In his mind, expecting to do anything less than that would be a disservice to the team that has been with him throughout his Cup career.

“It’s too important to the people that put in the hours and hours and hours, the people that put in millions and millions of dollars,” Harvick said according to the Associated Press.

After dusting Kasey Kahne on a late restart to win the 600, Harvick and his charge up the standings (he’s now seventh in points) face a stiff test today at Dover International Speedway. In 24 Cup starts at the “Monster Mile,” the California native has never won.

However, he finished second in last year’s spring race at Dover despite falling back in the field earlier in the event after overshooting his pit box during a stop. And considering how his performance has been lately, he’s looking to continue what may be a potential run to a title.

“Right now, we are just racing on a week to week basis and the performance of the cars has been good,” he said. “We have been able to get to Victory Lane four times, two points races, so I think we are in a good position to contend for it. Everybody is focused on the job and task at hand to be able to put ourselves in position to try to do that. I don’t see why not.”

Harvick starts seventh in today’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.