2012 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Preview: Kevin Harvick
Every day here at Bleacher Report, we'll be counting down the 12 drivers in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup by posting two driver previews, breaking down how they got in and what they're going to do with their berth. Today we feature the two winless drivers in the top 10; Martin Truex Jr.'s feature (10th) has already been posted, meaning that the next driver in line is Kevin Harvick (ninth).
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy John's Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
CHASE POSITION: ninth, 2000 points (0 wins)
MAKING THE CHASE
Harvick punched in his Chase ticket at Atlanta, the first race in which he reunited with longtime crew chief Gil Martin after spending the majority of the season with Shane Wilson. He led 101 laps to finish fifth and scored his fourth top five of the season.
LAST 10 RACES
The No. 29 team was consistent during the Race to the Chase—consistently pedestrian. Harvick posted an average finish of 13.2, which sinks to 14.6 when considering only the races with Wilson.
LAST YEAR'S CHASE
Harvick started last year's Chase as the top seed after winning Richmond and finished second in the first race at Chicago. Only accident-related problems at Talladega knocked him out of the top three at the Chase, as he scored six top 10s.
AT CHASE TRACKS
Homestead (average finish 7.9) and Chicago (10.4) are Harvick's domains and will give him the opportunity to both start and finish strong. His worst Chase track is Charlotte, where he has one win but only seven top 10s in 23 starts and a mediocre average finish of 18.1.
Gil Martin will either make or break this Chase for Harvick, as one of the strongest driver-crew chief pairings this side of Hendrick Motorsports looks to recapture their magic from the past few years. Harvick told ESPN during a Richmond rain delay that RCR was getting stronger at sharing notes from within, and if they gel with his driving style, Harvick could be this year's Tony Stewart—going from winless to champion in a mere 10 weeks.
For more from Christopher Leone, follow @christopherlion on Twitter.
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