Kevin Harvick seemed surprise with his result in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. After mustering a best finish of 10th through the first three stages, Harvick ended the night with a fifth-place finish after Jimmie Johnson was disqualified.
“We just missed the handling and had to battle all night trying to make it better,” Harvick said in a media release. “We left with a top-five somehow.”
Regardless of how it happened, Harvick heads into tonight’s Cup race at Charlotte (7 p.m ET on FS1) on a career-best streak. He’s placed in the top 10 in 12 consecutive races, dating back to the October playoff race at Kansas.
Part of that includes top-five finishes in the last four races, including his win at Darlington following a 10-week break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harvick’s previous best top-10 streak was 10 races that covered the final three races of 2014 and first seven of 2015.
The driver who follows Harvick in consecutive top 10s is Martin Truex Jr. He has only three.
Even though Harvick has only one win through seven races, he’s been the points leader since the series left Phoenix in March.
Just how well is Harvick doing since NASCAR returned to racing?
In the three races back in action, Harvick trails only Truex in points earned. Truex has 132 and Harvick has 127.
Harvick’s has the best average finish (3.0) through two Darlington races and the Coke 600. The next best is Brad Keselowski with an average of sixth.
When it comes to laps led, Harvick has 169 while Bowman leads with 205. All of Harvick’s laps led came in the Darlington races.
Harvick will have a challenge ahead of him tonight. It took almost 600 miles for him to get into the position inherit a top five Sunday night. Now with an inversion of Sunday’s top-20 finishers, Harvick starts 16th and at 310 miles, he’ll have roughly half the distance to work with.
However, Charlotte’s been good to the driver known as “The Closer.”
He has four top 10s in last five races and 11 top 10s in the last 13 races on Charlotte oval.
If Harvick is able to find his way to Victory Lane after 208 laps, it would be his fourth Charlotte win since 2011.