For the second straight season, Kevin Harvick has his back up against the wall in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
He wrecked at Chicagoland after continuing to race following a bump from Jimmie Johnson, finishing 42nd. He is now 22 points behind Jeff Gordon on the cutoff line with two races left to get to the Challenger Round.
He likely needs a win to advance.
Last season, Harvick found himself in a similar situation after placing 33rd at Martinsville to open the Eliminator 8. He won one race later at Phoenix in a do-or-die situation to salvage his championship run.
The difference between now and then is that Harvick owns Phoenix (he’s won the last four races there). At New Hampshire and Dover – the sites of the next two Chase events – Harvick has only visited Victory Lane once (fall 2006 at New Hampshire).
Harvick has placed third in the last two races at New Hampshire. Although he only has one win at The Magic Mile, his loop statistics there indicate a strong finish is likely. Harvick’s New Hampshire peripherals include the sixth-best average running position (11.931) and the eight-best driver rating (94.6).