Harvick comes up short of Chase win, but continues run of great consistency

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Prior to last week’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Kevin Harvick said it would take wins and uncanny consistency to advance to the final four, winner-take-all battle in the season-ending race at Homestead.

While he is now 0-for-2 in the wins category in the 10-race Chase, Harvick definitely has the consistency part down.

After finishing fifth in the Chase opener at Chicagoland last week, Harvick finished third in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

As a result, Harvick is now third in the standings, just seven points behind Chase series leader Brad Keselowski and six points behind Loudon winner and No. 2-ranked Joey Logano.

“The first two weeks have gone really well,” Harvick said after the race. “It was important for us to get off to a good start to make sure we weren’t scrambling after week one. That stuff seems to pile on. I think that a lot of that’s what happens.

“Towards the end of the race today, that’s what happened. You have to be aggressive. This place is tough to be aggressive on. We wound up with a ton of restarts, different strategies. I thought at one point we were going to win the race, then the next thing I know the 2 is in the left rear quarter panel, I’m out of the groove.”

Harvick dominated a significant part of the event, leading a race-high 104 laps of the 300-lap sprint around the one-mile flat track.

“We had a fast car, but track position is tough and it was really hard racing there,” Harvick said. “All in all, we did what we had to do.”

If he can keep doing what he has to do by remaining consistent and continuing to earn top-five finishes, he may just be able to ride that consistency to the championship.

“It was hard racing and I enjoyed it,” Harvick said. “Hopefully we can keep running like we’re running.”

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Bill Elliott joins Tony Stewart/Ray Evernham SRX series for 2021

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott became the eighth driver to join the Superstar Racing Experience, the short-track series being started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart.

The two-time Daytona 500 winner and 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015 and was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver 16 times (his son, Chase, has received the honor the past two years). Elliott also closed his full-time Cup career driving for Evernham’s Dodge team from 2001-03, winning the 2002 Brickyard 400.

“I am excited to reunite with Ray Evernham and some of the great legends of our sport,” Elliott, who joins Stewart and Bobby Labonte as NASCAR Hall of Famers in the SRX, said in a release. “I look forward to racing at some of the most historic American racing destinations and putting on an awesome show for the fans. We have a special driver field and it will be fun competing with some of the greatest drivers of all time.”

The series, which is expecting to have a dozen drivers, also has Tony Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Willy T. Ribbs and Mark Webber in its lineup.

SRX was co-founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Stewart and Evernham and was unveiled July 13.

Several drivers have expressed interest in the new circuit, which is modeled on the International Race of Champions (IROC) series that matched drivers from various auto racing disciplines in equally prepared cars for an annual four-race series for 30 years.

With the addition of Bill Elliott, Superstar Racing Experience has yet to reveal a schedule or tracks, but it’s expected that Stewart’s Eldora Speedway will be on the slate.