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Ranking the Top 5 Biggest Wins of Kevin Harvick's Career

Joseph SheltonContributor IIIMarch 9, 2014

Ranking the Top 5 Biggest Wins of Kevin Harvick's Career

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    Despite not yet winning a Sprint Cup championship, in 14 seasons Kevin Harvick has managed to win several memorable races.
    Despite not yet winning a Sprint Cup championship, in 14 seasons Kevin Harvick has managed to win several memorable races.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    One of the best Sprint Cup drivers to never win a championship, Kevin Harvick has had a very remarkable career full of memorable moments and huge wins.

    Thrust into the spotlight early on in his career following the death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona in 2001, Harvick has risen to the occasion, first driving for Richard Childress and now driving for Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, and he is now one of NASCAR's premier drivers.

    Harvick has won 24 Sprint Cup events in his career, plus three Sprint Unlimiteds at Daytona and the 2007 All-Star race at Charlotte. But he has also managed to win some very big races in his career. 

    Here is a ranking of the biggest wins of his career.

5. Phoenix, March 2014

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    Given that Harvick made his name in the Sprint Cup Series driving the No. 29 for Richard Childress, it seemed jarring when he announced that he would be driving the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing this season. It was the end of an era for many.

    However, the team change seemed to not slow him down at all, as he dominated the The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix, in only his second start in the No. 4. He led 224 laps out of 312, erasing any doubt that his move to SHR was a bad idea. It looks to be the beginning of a new era for Harvick in 2014.

4. Talladega, April 2010

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    The 2010 Aaron's 499 was supposed to be just another crazy Talladega race. Instead, it set the record as the most competitive event in NASCAR history, with 88 lead changes. 

    Early that week, it was announced that Shell/Pennzoil would be leaving the No. 29 team at the end of the 2010 season, and few could blame them considering that Harvick hadn't won a race since the 2007 Daytona 500. 

    However, coming to the checkered flag, Harvick barely edged Jamie McMurray by .011 of a second to win for the first time at Talladega. He would go on to win at Daytona in July and again at Michigan in August before placing third in points at season's end.

3. Indianapolis, August 2003

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    Following a dismal 2002 season, Harvick's 2003 season began with a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500. However, after suffering through the next four races, crew chief Gil Martin was replaced by Todd Berrier. 

    It took until the summer to turn the team around, but Harvick managed to win the pole and the race at Indy in August after leading 33 laps. Not only was the win huge due to the locale, but it also showed that Harvick was more than just a flash in the pan and that he belonged in the Sprint Cup Series.

2. Daytona, February 2007

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    Any time a driver wins the Daytona 500, it's huge. However, the way Harvick claimed the victory in the race's 2007 edition made it one of the most memorable races in NASCAR history.

    While everyone seemed to be rooting for perennial underdog Mark Martin in the closing stages, Harvick was biding his time until the last two laps, when he received a push from Matt Kenseth. Harvick pulled his line on the outside, pulling alongside Martin as the field entered the home stretch. 

    As Kyle Busch and Kenseth turned around behind the leaders and set off a huge crash, Harvick barely pulled ahead of Martin to claim the victory in the 49th Daytona 500. 

1. Atlanta, March 2001

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    This race stands to be the biggest win of Harvick's career, not only because it was his first career win and because he won in just his third career start. 

    In a sport still reeling from the death of Dale Earnhardt, Harvick's win provided a moment of healing for the millions in the NASCAR nation. 

    The finish was one of the most thrilling in NASCAR history, as Harvick bested Jeff Gordon by .006 of a second. He led 18 laps after starting fifth and managed to keep pace with Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jerry Nadeau and Dale Jarrett, all of whom were racing three-wide and side-by-side as the laps wound down. 

    Coming to the checkered, Harvick went high, while Gordon went low and closed the gap to the leader. It became a drag race to the checkered, with Harvick getting the win. The finish is remembered as one of the biggest moments in NASCAR history.

     

    Be sure to catch Joseph's blog, The Shelton 500. You can also follow him on Twitter: @ThatSheltonGuy

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