10 runner-up finishes may be a means to an end for Kevin Harvick: Another championship

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Kevin Harvick might beg to differ with Ricky Bobby’s Talladega Nights axiom that finishing second is the first loser.

Harvick finished runner-up for the 10th time this season in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

But to Harvick, it was a means to an end.

“I’m not frustrated at all because I’ve been on the other side of this fence, and you’d give everything in the world to finish second every week because it’s not easy,” Harvick said. “Obviously you want to win races, but we’re in position and feel like we can get that momentum swing at any point if it just starts going our way. But it’s fun to be able to come to Bristol and be competitive.”

Harvick did everything he could to catch Logano in the closing laps, but the latter refused to yield.

“(Logano) was able to get those huge runs up off the exit of the corner and just stayed one step ahead of me through traffic,” Harvick said. “In clean air we probably were a little faster, but it didn’t really matter. I had to be in front of him to show that. All in all, he was just one step ahead of me in traffic.”

Saturday’s finish was Harvick’s career-high 17th top-five finish. That is also the second-most in a single season during the modern era. Only Bobby Allison had more with 12 in 1972. The all-time record is 18 by David Pearson in 1969, when he started 51 of the 54 races that year.

Harvick also remains the points leader 24 races into the season. Since his last win, at Phoenix in the fourth race of the season, Harvick has earned eight runner-up finishes. that ties the all-time record of second-place finishes between victories (assuming Harvick wins again).

Consistency propelled Harvick to last season’s Sprint Cup championship, and could put him in position to repeat this year.

“They just keep bringing fast cars to the racetrack and we’re able to overcome a lot of things,” Harvick said. “Everybody just keeps grinding away at whatever the circumstances are, and we’re able to overcome things, and that’s really what it’s going to be about over the last 10 weeks.”

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