Harvick looks to stay hot at Charlotte


Associated Press

CONCORD, N.C.

Kevin Harvick is well aware he’s in the midst of something special.

Harvick has won the last three Cup races, including the $1 million All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend. And while he is starting 39th for the Coca-Cola 600 after his No. 4 Ford failed inspection three times prior to qualifying, he’s expected to be in the mix at the end.

“When you are on a hot streak, you are so confident not only as a driver but as a team,” said Joey Logano “It’s like you can’t do anything wrong. You just happen to be in the right spot at the right times. Their cars are really fast, they are really smart and they are really good. And Kevin is a great driver. ... When you’re good, you’re good. He’s confident.”

Harvick’s failure to participate in qualifying wasn’t lost on his competitors, who are looking for any advantage possible in their attempts to reel him in. Logano joked that “it sure don’t hurt” that Harvick has to start at the back of the field.

But with this being 100 miles longer than any other race on the NASCAR circuit, Harvick has plenty of time to push to the front.

Things to watch in today’s race:

DIFFERENT SETUP

Drivers say to discount everything you learned from the All-Star race, as this will be a completely different setup than the exhibition event that had restrictor plates.

Harvick said he doesn’t think there’s anything he can take away from his All-Star victory except for confidence.

“I don’t think there was really anything similar about the way that the cars were built. The engine ... nothing,” Harvick said. “There’s nothing that you can take from last week to this week other than just momentum and just the positive things that happened.”

TRUEX’S TRACK

Martin Truex Jr. has clearly figured out CMS and his No. 78 Toyota is expected to be strong on the long runs Sunday.

He has two wins in the last four races at the track, and top-5 finishes in five of the last six races. In 2016, he made history by leading 392 of the 400 laps — the most ever in a Cup race — to capture the checkered flag.

Truex led 233 laps last year and finished third.

BUSCH ON THE POLE

Kyle Busch still leads the point standings despite Harvick’s amazing roll of wins and will start on the pole.

Charlotte is the only track on the Cup schedule where he has never won a points-paying race. He did win the All-Star race here in 2017. Busch’s driving rating of 104.9 is second only to the track’s all-time winningest driver, Jimmie Johnson.

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