Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

NASCAR

Kevin Harvick brings momentum, past success to Richmond

I am really happy for Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress winning at Talladega Superspeedway last Sunday. Timing really is everything. Here's an organization that didn't win a single race in 2009. On top of that, Kevin Harvick hadn't won a NASCAR Cup race in more than three years. Lastly, as we discussed in my previous column, Shell/Pennzoil has announced it is leaving the team at the end of the year and moving to Penske Racing.

There are a lot of things up in the air at Richard Childress Racing. Is Kevin going to stay in the No. 29 car? Who is going to replace Shell/Pennzoil as the sponsor? So winning that race will sure will help move things forward. Now, will winning that one race change Kevin's mind about leaving? No, probably not.

Let's face it, Kevin iwill go where he believes he has the best opportunity to win races and compete for a championship. You know what? That may well still be at Childress Racing. I'm seeing, and I keep telling folks that, slowly but surely, they are getting that whole organization back to championship caliber.

As I've said, for whatever reason, RCR is better suited to running a three-car, rather than four-car operation. I think that is the case for a two-car team looking to go to three, or even a three-car team looking to go to that fourth car. You simply have to look closely at the challenges you are facing.

I have also always said that race teams are like kids. Having two teams is like having two kids. Three is like having 10 and, honestly, having four teams is like having 20 kids. I know it sounds simple, just add one team, but I promise you it is anything but simple.

Going back to Talladega, you have to be happy for Mike Bliss and the Phoenix Racing team. Both Mike and the No. 09 have missed races this year. Here's a team that has left Talladega with a top-10 finish, so they have to be thrilled about that.

Now, we always tell you that Daytona and Talladega are their own animals. Racing at those tracks has nothing in common with racing at Richmond, Darlington and Charlotte. But what it does give some of these teams is confidence and momentum. One good run can catapult you into a string of them.

If you didn't find Sunday's racing at Talladega the best ever, well there is no hope for you. If you can pick anything apart about that race, well by golly, shame on you. There had to be over 125,000-plus fans there Sunday and I looked at the crowd on lap 10, 50, 100 and the last handful of laps and folks, I don't know if the fans ever sat down.

They simply didn't need their seats. The fans just needed a place to stand. It was incredible. We've had no bad races. What is exciting to me is looking down the road at these next five races, for example, there's no reason to believe anything will be different there either.

I know it is hard to believe but we are now a fourth of the way through the 2010 season. So far, we've had unbelievable, exciting, unpredictable racing from the drop of the green flag in Daytona to the checkered flag in Talladega.

This weekend we head back to the short tracks. Richmond will mark the third and final short track on the NASCAR on FOX schedule. Richmond is the perfect size racetrack to still be called a short track. It can handle all 43 cars easily. The two ends of the track are significantly different. It's hard on equipment, especially brakes.

Now Richmond has always been a great racetrack for Kevin Harvick. Coming off Sunday at Talladega, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see him win two in a row. His teammate Clint Bowyer has won there, so this could be another great weekend for Richard Childress Racing.

For Roush Fenway however, I still think there is a little something missing. We are starting to see them having some good runs. Unfortunately, they still haven't been able to close the deal. Other than the Talladega win last fall with Jamie McMurray, that organization has gone a long time without a win, but I really think they are light-years ahead of where they were a year ago. They are getting closer and closer.

I still believe any given Sunday that Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle or Carl Edwards can lead laps and win a race. Now the fourth team, David Ragan, also had a good run last Sunday. In fact, it was his first top-10 finish in over a year. I said at the beginning of the season, and still stand by it, that this is a "fish or cut bait" year for David. It's his fourth year and it's time to produce results.