NASCAR Cup Series drivers have completed 15 of the 26 regular season races, and 11 have reached Victory Lane. Kevin Harvick is not in this group, and he is currently below the playoff cutline after a June 5 visit to World Wide Technology Raceway.
Harvick, who reached the playoffs on points in 2021, moved up to 11th place over the weekend after posting seven top-10 finishes and three top-fives. However, a right rotor issue sent him into the wall on lap 235 of the Enjoy Illinois 300, and he finished the day 33rd overall.
Harvick is still 13th in points, but sits at a disadvantage. Behind him are four drivers, who have each reached the victory lane. Chase Briscoe (14th) won at Phoenix Raceway, Kurt Busch (17th) won at Kansas Speedway, Austin Sindrick (18th) won the Daytona 500, and Denny Hamlin (19th) at Richmond Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway Race won.
The reshuffling of these drivers on the basis of wins shakes up the playoff picture quite a bit. Hamlin is 17th overall and is below the cutline. Other winning drivers sit next to him in Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Eric Almirola and Tyler Reddick.
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Harvick can take some positive steps
Harvick is below the playoff cutline, but he still has time to make a few moves and jump into contention for a spot in the 16-driver field. Eventually, he earned his nickname of The Closer, accumulating 58 Cup Series victories and one championship.
Harvik is only two points behind Radic and eight points behind Almirola after the first 15 races of the season. This is by no means an insurmountable obstacle, and Harvick will have 11 more runs to chase before the playoffs begin.
The number 4 Stewart-Haas Racing driver’s regular season has several wins split between the rest of the track. This includes a win at Sonoma Raceway, the next track on the Cup Series schedule.
Along with the California road course win, Harwick had three wins in the previous configuration of Atlanta Motor Speedway, four wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, one win at Pocono Raceway, five wins at Michigan International Speedway, three wins at Richmond Raceway, one win. at Watkins Glen International, and two wins at Daytona International Speedway.
Ford teams have gained ground
Ford teams struggled with pace during the 2021 season, and there have been races in 2022 where that trend has continued. However, he has made progress in recent weeks as he struggles to win.
Logano’s visits to Darlington Raceway and Victory Lane at World Wide Technology Raceway highlighted this progress, but Number 22 was not the only one negotiated by Ford. His teammate, Ryan Blaney, has been the best in the field despite failing to reach Victory Lane in the race for points-paying. Meanwhile, rookies Austin Sindrick and Harrison Burton have shown signs of progress as they battle for some top-10 finishes.
Stewart-Haas Racing entries have also shown momentum. Harwick has had four top-10 finishes in the last six races, including fourth at Darlington and third at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chase Brisco, for comparison, finished fourth at Charlotte and led 27 laps before winning pole in the WWTR. However, a flat tire interrupted his afternoon.
Eric Almirola has demonstrated consistency in 2022. She has five top-10s, including fifth place at World Wide Technology Raceway, and has made the final round of qualifying six times.
Cole Custer has not experienced the same amount of success as his teammates, but he has demonstrated speed during qualifying sessions. This includes a return to the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track upon winning the Bush Light pole.
Read further: Joey Logano Breaks Important Tie With NASCAR Giants