When you are good, you are good, but more importantly you have to be humble. No one that says they are the best at what they do never had to rest on their morals. Every chance they had, it meant coming back out and proving it once again, just in a different way.
Last year, Martin Truex Jr. was proving time and time again that he was the best driver, and his crew was the best team, on the circuit. But he didn’t outright dominate each week. In some instances, he had to charge from the back to make a statement. That’s how he ultimately won the season title, because he was not the best car when the green flag waved at Homestead. However, he was the best when it counted, and it gave him a huge trophy.
This year, that can be said for Kevin Harvick.
Sure, they have their hiccups on pit road because of issues with air guns, lug nuts, or miscues. But being the best means overcoming adversity.
Saturday night at Kansas, he started on pole, but was not a strong car by his standards. He battled for the stage wins, but ended up short. He knew he needed to be strong in the end for him to be competitive.
How ironic that a gamble from Truex would put these two head-to-head for the final battle. That last battle came down to a fight with two laps remaining, and when it comes to two tires vs. four tires, the battle was over with one and a half laps remaining. One hand is now full of victories, because Harvick is again standing tall with his fifth victory in 12 races.
The “Closer” is living up to his nickname.
That victory gave four participants a victory this week, and closed the gap on the lead as we approach the halfway point in the regular season. Here’s the new standings following the KC Masterpiece 400:
Sal Sigala Jr. – 494 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd (3) 17
Ashley Hobbs – 483 – Kevin Harvick WON (5) 26
Rob Tiongson – 465 – Kyle Busch finished 10th (2) 10
Penny Whitecotton – 432 – Kevin Harvick WON (5) 23
Trisha Rodisch – 431 – Kevin Harvick WON (4) 21
Billy Fellin – 372 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd (3) 18
Misan Akuya – 387 – Kevin Harvick WON (4) 22
Rob Blount – 362 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd (1) 6
Dustin Parks – 361 – Clint Bowyer finished 15th (0) 2
Ashley Hull – 343 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd (2) 12
Klarissa Mitchell – 127 – NO PICK SENT (0) 0
Next Race: NASCAR now heads home for a couple weeks. Up next, it’s not about points, but it’s all about experimentation. An entirely different aerodynamic package is being brought in for next Saturday night’s festivities. A taller spoiler, with fins on either end, a new splitter setup similar to what was used about five years ago, and most importantly, a restrictor plate going on the engines.
It’s quite possible these drivers will be holding the throttle wide open all around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It will be a wild sprint to the finish for this one.
Watch for a special message regarding next week’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.
A week later, the rules return, and it no longer becomes a sprint. It is about endurance, pacing through the field, and knowing that things will change throughout the entire distance. In fact, it’s the only race where three stages won’t settle a winner, but instead it’s four. Why the extra segment…because it’s the most difficult race of the season, considering it’s also the longest.
The green flag waves with the sun in the sky, fades through sunset, goes right into twilight, and by the time the checkered flag waves, the stars are in the sky.
On the most solemn of holiday weekends, NASCAR prepares for it’s endurance race.
Participants, there’s an event in between to maybe give you all ideas, but how much help it will be is uncertain. Still, your picks are due by Thursday, May 24, at 10 p.m. ET for the Coca-Cola 600.