After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year.
Finishing third in the championship in his last go-round at Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick…
No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
2013 Stats: Third Place, Four Wins, Nine Top-5s, 21 Top-10s, 269 Laps Led
Average Start: 15.3
Average Finish: 11.2
Estrada Says: In his final season with Richard Childress Racing, Harvick’s consistency helped put him in position to contend for a Cup championship. From Darlington to New Hampshire in July, Harvick racked up nine consecutive Top-10s (one of which was a win in the Coca-Cola 600) and was able to avoid too many poor results in the remainder of the regular season to make the Chase comfortably. He then had a strong post-season, overcoming the controversy from his comments toward Childress’ grandsons, Ty and Austin Dillon, following the Martinsville Camping World Truck Series race. All in all, four wins and another Top-3 finish in the standings wasn’t a bad way to go out at RCR. Next stop: Stewart-Haas Racing.
DiZinno Says: I was impressed by Harvick’s dedication throughout the year and the consistent championship challenge as my colleague Chris notes above. Considering he knew the end was near for him at RCR, it would have been easy for him to “mail it in” but instead was the only reliable contender from the Childress stable, as Jeff Burton and Paul Menard had down years. His four wins came on three different sizes of ovals – 0.75-miles at Richmond, two 1.5-milers at Charlotte and Kansas, and the 1-miler at Phoenix- an impressive feat. Even more than Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch, it’s Harvick, the one driver without a Cup title thus far of that trio, who will probably pose Stewart-Haas’ most consistent title threat in 2014 if he clicks with his new squad.