It has been a quiet season for Kevin Harvick. And, in the Harvick lexicon, that’s a good word.
Harvick hasn’t won any races, but he’s tied for third in the point standings and has top-10 runs in half of the six races to date.
There have been no run-ins with folks who might challenge him in one way or another.
And he had a poorly performing car two weeks ago at Martinsville (finishing 19th), but he rolled on without making a bump in the road.
“We sat down at the beginning of the year and just tried to figure out how we were going to progress more productively,” said Harvick, who is working with a new crew chief, Shane Wilson. “That opportunity was there to I guess be a jerk last week (at Martinsville), and we talked about it as a group. We figured out what we did wrong, and we went on vacation.
“We felt like we had a lot of the questions to the quiz. I think there is still going to be situations where I don’t do or say the right thing, but that is just human nature. The good thing is we have had speed in the car every week. We hadn’t put it all together, but the cars have been fast enough.
“There will be a point where they don’t run fast enough. It’s going to be a lot more productive if we can sit down and figure it out as a group – to use the resources that we have at the shop to put the pieces together and solve the problem quicker as a group than it is to fuss and fight for two or three weeks. Then have Richard (Childress, team owner) sit us down and tell us that we need to get along and then all of a sudden we fix the problem instead of in two weeks to fix it in four weeks, and then you’ve wasted two weeks. It’s just trying to be more efficient and more productive.”
As for a generally calmer year on the track, Harvick said that results from circumstances.
“I think if you look back, the second race last year at Martinsville was just a complete demolition derby,” he said. “I’m sure everyone is trying to get off on the right foot and trying to get themselves positioned as teams, organizations to get in position to race to get into the Chase. Everyone is trying to win races, so you need as few enemies as possible at this point.”
Harvick is zero-for-18 in races at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500. He has three top-five finishes.
“It is just a matter of doing our stuff right and trying to figure out the things that I like to feel in the car and things that we didn’t do right before,” he said. “Things that we think we need to do better this week is to just unload better and have a better starting spot to work from.
“Last week was a little bit of a wake-up call for us. We had a great weekend altogether and just made some bad decisions race morning as a group. I felt like that taught all of us as a group that we are still a fresh group together and we made some mistakes and just try not to do that again.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.