How do you stop Kevin Harvick? Other drivers would like to know


Other than putting nails in his tires or messing with his fuel supply, teams have had little luck in stopping Kevin Harvick.

The defending Sprint Cup champion and current points leader is riding the most consistent run NASCAR has seen in 40 years.

In his last eight Sprint Cup races (dating back to the last three events in 2014), Harvick has eight top-2 finishes: four wins and four runner-up finishes.

That’s the best run by any Sprint Cup driver since NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty had 11 consecutive top-2 finishes in the 1975 season.

And there’s no reason why Harvick can’t continue his outstanding ways in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Several drivers talked about Harvick’s current run Friday. Here are some of those comments:

Jeff Gordon: “(Harvick’s success) inspires us to push harder. We know their (Stewart-Haas Racing) cars and their engines. We know a lot, but not everything, about their setups and they know about ours as well.

“When you’re getting beat out there on the track, it pushes you to try to find more. You start looking at photographs and what little small details are being done. We do that with our teammates and we do that with Stewart-Haas because we have that information and because they’re the best team out there right now.

“They’re the fastest cars. We’re always trying to make our own things better, but we’re also always trying to look around to make sure we’re not missing something.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “I don’t think many people have had a season or 16 months like Harvick has. They should have won so many races last year. They had the same speed that they have this year. They just had these little gremlins and bugs that were biting on them and costing them a lot of victories.

“They are completing these races now and it’s obvious to everyone how good they are. They’ll be that way all year, I expect. And Kevin, he’s a good guy. He’s great for the sport. He’s a great representative of the sport. I enjoy a guy like that doing well because I think it helps the sport and it’s healthy for the sport. He has a great mind inside the car and outside the car. He’s very sharp about the direction the sport is going. As a business, safety-wise, he’s got a lot of great ideas and he’s just a great ambassador for us drivers and for the sport.

“Harvick has been quick everywhere. I think he’s a better driver than we ever imagined when he was with RCR and I think now that he’s with one of the better crew chiefs (Rodney Childers) in the garage, he’s able to really show his true potential and his true ability; and he’s good everywhere. He’s won here (at Martinsville). He’s won at a lot of different tracks and he’s starting to rack them up, here, now that he’s got his team really peaked-out.”

Denny Hamlin: “I think that we do have an idea of what we’ve got, but it’s so early in the season that it’s going to be mid-summer before we really start to understand where your program fully is and you go back to some of these race tracks again. I think everyone right now is chasing really the 4 (Kevin Harvick) car and some other Hendrick guys. Still plenty of time to catch those guys here in the future.”

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COTA Xfinity Series results

COTA Xfinity results
Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

AJ Allmendinger led 28 of 46 laps Saturday to win the Xfinity Series race at Circuit of the Americas for the second year in a row.

Allmendinger held off William Byron to score his first victory of the year and 16th in the Xfinity Series.

MORE: COTA Xfinity results

Ty Gibbs placed third and was followed by rookie Sammy Smith and Justin Allgaier.

Smith, Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, who placed sixth, and Sam Mayer, who finished seventh, will be eligible for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash next weeked at Richmond after being the top four full-time Xfinity finishers Saturday.



AJ Allmendinger wins Xfinity race at COTA

AJ Allmendinger Xfinity COTA
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

AJ Allmendinger overcame damage from a restart to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

This is the second year in a row he has won this race. It is Allmendinger’s first victory of the season and 16th career Xfinity win.

MORE: COTA race results 

William Byron, driving for Hendrick Motorsports, finished second. Ty Gibbs placed third, Sammy Smith fourth and Justin Allgaier fifth.

Smith, Allgaier, sixth-place finisher Daniel Hemric and seventh-place finisher Sam Mayer — the top four full-time Xfinity drivers — will be eligible for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Richmond Raceway.

Allmendinger won the first stage and then pitted. When a caution came out shortly, it put him 21st in the field. On the Lap 20 restart, his car suffered damage when he was hit going into Turn 1.

Allmendinger worked his way through the field and took the lead from Sheldon Creed on Lap 33 when they made contact and Creed spun. Creed fell back to 23rd and finished the 46-lap race in ninth.

Stage 1 winner: AJ Allmendinger

Stage 2 winner: Sheldon Creed

Who had a bad race: Austin Hill, who had won three of the first five races this season, had mechanical issues early and finished 37th in the 38-car field.

Next: The series races April 1 at Richmond Raceway (1 p.m. ET on FS1)

COTA Truck race results: Zane Smith wins


Reigning series champion Zane Smith won Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas for the second year in a row.

The victory is Smith’s second of this year.

MORE: COTA Truck race results

MORE: Truck points after COTA

Kyle Busch finished second and was followed by Ty Majeski, Tyler Ankrum and Ross Chastain.

The key moment came when Parker Kligerman‘s truck came to a stop on the frontstretch at Lap 28. Smith, running second, made it to pit road before it was closed. Busch, who was leading, had already passed pit road entrance.

Smith gained the lead with the move, while Busch had to pit under the caution and restarted 16th. Smith was able to build a lead and beat Busch by 5.4 seconds.

Stage 1 winner: Christian Eckes

Stage 2 winner: Kyle Busch

Who had a good race: Ty Majeski’s third-place finish is his best of the season. … Tyler Ankrum’s fourth-place finish is his best of the year. … Corey Heim has finished sixth two races in a row. … Rookie Nick Sanchez finished seventh, giving him back-to-back top 10s.

Who had a bad race: Parker Kligerman was running third when electrical issues forced him to stop on track just after the end of the second stage. … After winning the first stage, Christian Eckes had mechanical issues and had to pit for repairs, costing him several laps.

Notable: Front Row Motorsports has won the Truck COTA race all three years. Todd Gilliland won the race in 2021 and Zane Smith has won it the past two years.

Next: The series races April 1 at Texas Motor Speedway (4:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series XPEL 225
COTA winner Zane Smith’s truck catches fire after he did his burnout on the frontstretch. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

COTA Cup starting lineup


Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, who has won two of the first five races of the season, will lead the Cup field to the green flag Sunday at Circuit of the Americas.

Byron will be joined on the front row of the starting lineup by Tyler Reddick, the only driver to win multiple races at road courses last year.

MORE: COTA Cup starting lineup

Austin Cindric starts third and is joined in the second row by Jordan Taylor, who is filling in for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick car.

Taylor’s performance is the best qualifying effort by a driver making their Cup debut since Boris Said started second in his Cup debut at Watkins Glen in 1999.