Anytime you can tie Richard Petty in the NASCAR Cup Series record book then you know you must have had a great day on the track.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick not only had a good day at Michigan on Sunday, he also had a great day on Saturday.
Harvick was able to win Cup races on back-to-back days for the first time since Petty accomplished the feat in 1971. He also tied another NASCAR Hall of Famer in number of wins as he now has 55 in his career which ties him with Rusty Wallace for tenth on the all-time list.
Harvick’s dominating Michigan performance further solidifies him as one of the favorites for the series title as his win on Saturday was his fifth of the season and it tied him with Denny Hamlin as the series leader. That was a short lived tie as he now leads the series with six wins going into this weekend’s race at Daytona on its fabled road course.
Harvick’s two wins at Michigan comes as no surprise as the tack has to be one of the favorite stops on the schedule for the former series champion. His two trips to victory lane gives him three consecutive wins at the track and his fourth in the last five races.
The weekend’s wins gave Ford Motor Co. the track’s Heritage Trophy which is so important to the manufacturer as the track is located close to its headquarters. The dominating performance that Harvick put on at Michigan is a reflection of the kind of year that he has been having and it really shows up in the Driver’s Point Standings. He sits on top of the points with a 137-point lead over second place driver Brad Keselowski and as you would expect sits on top of the Playoff Points with 35.
That is basically enough points that it would cover even the poorest finish that Harvick could post during the Playoff Rounds of the schedule without hurting his chances of advancing to the next round.
There are still four races remaining in the regular season with a doubleheader at Dover sandwiched in between the road course race at Daytona and a return trip to Daytona to be contested on the track’s tri-oval. That will be the third trip to Daytona this season with this weekend’s road course race being the race that NASCAR added after racing resumed from being shut down due to the COVID-19 virus.
BUBBLE WATCH: Another repeat winner in Harvick still keep the hopes of several drivers alive in their quest to become one of the sixteen drivers who will transfer to the Playoff Round by either posting a win or being inside the top-16 in points after the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona in three weeks. Erik Jones and Jimmie Johnson sit in the 15th and 16th spot in the points at this time but both are on the outside looking in when it comes to a spot in the playoff field because even though both Austin Dillon and Cole Custer are below them in the points they are both automatically in because both have a win this season.
Jones and Johnson are both 26-points out of the final spot at this time which puts them in a hard place of having to go for the win but at the same time be aware of every point that is awarded at the end of a race and those up for grabs in the first two stages of each race.
This weekend’s race at Daytona is the wild card race of the remaining four as this will be the first ever race for the Cup cars on the road course that after the addition of a new chicane is a 14-turn, 3.57-mile layout. Adding to the difficulty of racing on the layout for the first time is that there will be no practice or qualifying before the race.