NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick has not won a race during the 2021 season after heading to Victory Lane nine times in 2020. However, he has remained competitive each week, including a top-10 finish at Phoenix Raceway. This most recent result moved him one step closer to the record books.
According to Beyond the Flag, Harvick's sixth-place finish on Sunday was his 16th consecutive top-10 at Phoenix, a streak that started in 2013. He finished second during the FanShield 500 in March 2020 and then seventh during November's championship race. Only three drivers have managed to record more consecutive top-10 finishes at a single track. They are all seven-time NASCAR champions.
Done in the desert. Headed back to the city next week. pic.twitter.com/CtK7NRVh1L— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) March 14, 2021
Jimmie Johnson, who retired after the 2020 season, recorded 17 consecutive top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway between October 2002 and October 2010. He won six of these races. "The Intimidator" Dale Earnhardt posted 18 top-10 finishes at North Wilkesboro Speedway between October 1983 and April 1992. He won four of these races.
Finally, "The King" Richard Petty posted 18 top-10 finishes at North Wilkesboro Speedway between September 1968 to March 1977. He won nine of these races while securing a reputation as the greatest driver in the sport's history. Petty is the only person to reach 200 wins, and he sits 95 ahead of runner-up David Pearson.
While Harvick only has one Cup Series championship to his name (2014), he will have the opportunity to tie Johnson with his 17th consecutive top-10 finish. The NASCAR drivers will return to Phoenix Raceway in November for the championship race. Harvick has the goal of being one of the remaining four drivers after missing out on 2020's championship race in stunning fashion.
Harvick needed to either win the final cutoff race at Martinsville or simply finish ahead of Kyle Busch in order to make the final four last year. However, he was unable to achieve either goal. He struggled all day long with a car that did not perform as he expected but nearly mounted a comeback.
All Harvick needed to do was pass Busch on the final lap, and he would leapfrog Keselowski with a tiebreaker. He deliberately drove into the rear quarter panel of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry on the final corner and attempted to spin out his opponent. The maneuver backfired, sending Harvick into the wall. His last-ditch effort failed and cementing his spot below the cutoff line. Now he will attempt to find more success in 2021.