Is there any doubt as to what was going to happen this week? It was almost as if the writing on the wall was not just in ink, but was getting painted on. Wednesday was the catalyst for the No. 4 team, that began setting everything in motion.
The anger that was seen on the faces of the team also ignited a fire that every member of the organization wanted to use to their full advantage.
If the penalty was the match, the fact that the ISM Raceway hosted the next event was the gasoline. An inferno was bound to happen, and the only way to in their eyes extinguish the inferno was to show every other competitor that no penalty nor suspension was going to keep him from achieving the goal of everyone. In the end, no other driver could deny the one to beat was the No. 4, and at the end of 312 laps, Kevin Harvick proved that nothing was going to keep him from celebrating.
A salute to his crew, and an honorable smack of the rear window of his Ford Fusion to prove that they don’t need to cheat in order to win, gave the Stewart-Haas organization a third consecutive victory, and a firm hold as the team to beat in 2018.
Three straight wins, and a recoup of playoff points; hard to deny that this team is rolling and is nowhere close to stopping.
What else did that victory achieve? How about a record amount of victories in one week. Not one, not two, but nearly 80 percent of the field in this year’s competition has earned a victory in one week because eight decided to go with a sure thing in picking Harvick to win.
There wasn’t much change, but here’s the updated standings following the Ticket Guardian 500:
Misan Akuya – 176 – Kevin Harvick WON (2) 11
Rob Blount – 174 – Kevin Harvick WON (1) 5
Ashley Hobbs – 160 – Kevin Harvick WON (2) 11
Penny Whitecotton – 159 – Kevin Harvick WON (3) 11
Sal Sigala Jr. – 152 – Kevin Harvick WON (1) 6
Ashley Hull – 152 – Kevin Harvick WON (1) 6
Rob Tiongson – 150 – Kevin Harvick WON (1) 5
Trisha Rodisch – 130 – Kyle Larson finished 18th (2) 6
Billy Fellin – 123 – Kevin Harvick WON (1) 5
Dustin Parks – 120 – Kyle Larson finished 18th (0) 0
Klarissa Mitchell – 57 – Jamie McMurray finished 26th (0) 0
Next Race: Is four in a row a possibility? If so, it has to come at a track that is unlike ISM, and even different than Atlanta and Las Vegas. Multiple lanes, high speeds, and sweeping corners await everyone next Sunday when NASCAR heads to the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.
It’s a different kind of glitz and glamour, where instead of a red carpet it’s more of a checker board entrance.
Those picks will need to be locked in by Thursday, March 15, at 10 p.m. ET for the Auto Club 400.