He'll take the desert
He’s Kevin Harvick to you, but fans at Phoenix Raceway know him as “the King of the Desert.”
Indeed, the 45-year-old Californian and 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champ has some impressive numbers on the 1-mile oval that are head and shoulders above all the others, totals he hopes to add to when he joins the field at the spring race there.
Harvick is the all-time leader among active drivers in most of the critical stats at Phoenix, including wins (9), top-fives (18), top-10s (25), top-20s (32), laps led (1,667) and average finish (8.92). So if you were picking a favorite in this race, he’d be it, right?
Well, not so fast. He hasn’t won here in three years, though he’s had three top-fives and two top-10s in the five races since that March 2018 victory. In that same time frame, Kyle Busch has caught fire in the desert, winning twice with two top-fives and a top-20. Most of Harvick’s big numbers were run up from 2013-16, when he won four straight races and five of six with one second place finish.
Harvick had a respectable showing in the last race here, the Cup Series finale in Nov. 2020, finishing seventh as Chase Elliott won going away to give him his first Cup Series championship.
At this writing, Harvick was third in the Cup Series points standings and in fine form, and he’ll certainly be looking to add to his totals Sunday, March 14, on Fox, when he vies in the race at the track in Avondale, Ariz.
Full name: Kevin Michael Harvick
Birth date: Dec. 8, 1975
Birthplace: Bakersfield, Calif.
Height/weight: 5 feet 10 inches/175 pounds
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
Make: Ford Mustang
Honors and Achievements: Cup Series champion (2014); Daytona 500 winner (2007); Cup Series Rookie of the Year (2001); Busch (now Xfinity) Series Rookie of the Year (2000); Busch Series champion (2001, 2006); Busch Series Most Popular Driver (2001)