It took another post-Green-White-Checkered pass to pull it off, but Kevin Harvick got around Dale Earnhardt Jr. and earned his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season Saturday night in Darlington. So ends the string of different winners in as many races, but it was a needed result for Harvick after a string of bad luck in the races since his Phoenix win, back in February.
Here’s the rest of where things stand, points-wise, after the eighth regular season race of 2014:
MORE THAN HALF OF THE 16 ALREADY SEEM SET
Your seven race winners – Earnhardt Jr., Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Joey Logano – plus points leaders Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth have been the class of the field thus far. Harvick is the lowest ranked driver in that group in P22 in the standings, but he’ll be fine going forward. Jimmie Johnson, P5 in points, is going to get his first win soon as well.
THE NEXT TIER OF EIGHT FROM P9-16 LOOK GOOD, NOT GREAT
From Ryan Newman in ninth down to Clint Bowyer in 16th, this group of eight drivers are running well but haven’t necessarily gotten the ultimate finish needed yet for their seasons. Other than Kyle Larson’s near win at Auto Club Speedway a few weeks ago, none of the eight in this group has challenged for a win.
SOME COMBO OF LUCK OR PERFORMANCE TURNAROUND NEEDED
Jamie McMurray (P20), Kasey Kahne (P23) and Martin Truex Jr. (P28) are probably the biggest names in this batch without a win or major result to speak of. McMurray ran well earlier this year as he and new crew chief Keith Rodden gelled, but he’s been outside the top 15 the last three races. Truex has only one top 15 finish all season.
POINTS: Through 8 of 26 races.