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Commentary

Harvick Quietly Emerging as Major Threat

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Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson have been the talk of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season.

They have captured a combined five victories, occupy the top two positions in the driver’s standings, and maintain a 70 point advantage over third-place Kyle Busch.

Their dominance has been well documented while the fourth place competitor in the standings has found similar success but has held less of the spotlight.

Kevin Harvick earned his seventh top-five and 12th top-10 of the year with a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He is just one top-10 shy of Truex Jr. this season and is two top-five’s behind Larson but has been equally as impressive.

Loudon marked Harvick’s seventh top-10 in the last nine races which ties him with Truex Jr. for most in the series over that span, and there are no signs he will slow up anytime soon.

Some of the tracks where the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has performed best at in recent years host the final seven races before the playoffs which will likely lead to additional top-10’s and victories.

Harvick has scored three consecutive top-10 finishes at Indianapolis, Pocono, and Bristol, finished inside the top-10 in two of the last three races at Watkins Glen and Michigan, and thrived recently at Richmond and Darlington.

At the final two regular season events, the No. 4 team may be at their best as they have three consecutive top-five finishes at both tracks. It will also be a critical time to rack up last minute playoff points, and Harvick will be in an excellent position to do so.

Continuing to perform at a similar pace in the coming weeks will earn the 41-year-old a greater share of the spotlight in the second half of the season.

Once the post-season arrives, his success under the current format may lend him the upper hand as he looks to reclaim a spot in the Championship 4 after narrowly missing out last November. 

While Truex Jr. and Larson look to have all but guaranteed spots in the season finale considering the advantage playoff points will provide them throughout the first three rounds, Harvick’s name should also be in that conversation, and he will likely continue to prove that in the upcoming races.

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Jason Schultz

Jason Schultz aspires to enter the public relations field of NASCAR. Schultz, 19, attends UNC Charlotte and is a communication studies major with a focus in public relations. In addition to contributing to POPULAR SPEED, Schultz produces podcasts for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Radio. He also completed a semester as a social media intern at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each year, he volunteers as the social media correspondent for Autism Delaware's Drive for Autism golf tournament featuring NASCAR personalities and the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover.