Comparing two of NASCAR's greatest streaks Vote: Who will win at Martinsville? " Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Editor's note: Kevin Harvick has eight consecutive top-two finishes. The all-time best top-two streak is 11, by Richard Petty. Here's a look at how they compare.
No. 4 dominant again but finishes eighth
Defending series champion extends top-two streak to eight races RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings FONTANA, Calif. -- Things are going pretty well when people wonder if you are disappointed by a runner-up finish. Such is Kevin Harvick 's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The reigning Sprint Cup Series champion led 34 laps, contended for the win and ultimately finished second in Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway . He didn't hoist the track's cool surfboard trophy and just missed sweeping the three West Coast races by 7-tenths of a second -- Sunday's margin of victory. But Harvick -- who won at Las Vegas and Phoenix -- did extend his streak of finishing first or second to eight consecutive races dating back to last season. The record is 11 set by Richard Petty in 1975. "I'm not disappointed at all," Harvick said Sunday. "I'm just glad to be a part of such a good race there. I'm really happy that all the fans got to come out and see a great finish to a great day. "I'm just really proud of everybody on our Jimmy John's/Budweiser team. You could have flipped a coin as to what the right strategy there was at the end with tires. Just proud of Rodney Childers (crew chief) and the pit crew and everybody for just having a solid day." Another solid day. Harvick trailed his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch by less than a second in the closing laps, when a caution came out for track debris on the final lap. Harvick got two tires on his No. 4 Chevrolet and race winner Brad Keselowski got four during the ensuing caution. Another yellow flag a lap later forced a second green-white-checkered restart and Keselowski was able to get around both Harvick and his SHR teammate Kurt Busch , leading only the last lap for the win. "Well Rodney (Childers, crew chief) he has a lot of information up there and there were so many cars on the lead lap that you just didn't want to get buried in there," Harvick said of the decision to get two tires. "If you get buried in the middle of the field and you don't get a good restart, you are just going to have a tough time making up ground. We won the championship because of a pit call and didn't win a race today. "I don't think it was because of a pit call, just dumb luck and how many times we had to restart. All-in-all just really proud of everybody." "You just never know how the strategy is going to work out," Harvick said. "You are kind of on both sides of the fence there as to what you should or shouldn't do. If the second restart doesn’t come about then two tires is the right call. But you just never know." The effort extended Harvick's championship lead to 28 points over Team Penske 's Joey Logano headed into next weekend's STP 500 (Sunday, March 29, 1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) at NASCAR's smallest track, the 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway . MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today All-time consecutive top-two finishes Streak Driver Year 11 Richard Petty 1975 10 Richard Petty 1971 10 Richard Petty 1967 9 Richard Petty 1964 8 Kevin Harvick 2014-15 8 David Pearson 1968
Kevin Harvick controlled the race at Auto Club Speedway to capture his second XFINITY Series win of the 2015 season.
Jon Housholder recaps the Drive4Clots.com 300 from Auto Club Speedway and another western win for Kevin Harvick as NASCAR Goes West.
Kevin Harvick celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Drive4Clots.com 300 in his home-state of California.
Harvick sets a high bar for performance entering Auto Club weekend
Kevin Harvick talks about his day at Fontana and how the track time in the XFINITY race also helps him in the Sprint Cup Series.
No. 4 driver also explains why they can't just put his setup in teammates' cars Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick says his team will approach today's team test at Charlotte Motor Speedway with caution, and avoid trying to read too much into the details as teams prepare for the series' stops here in late May. In Harvick's view, today's test, which is scheduled to run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the 1.5-mile track, "is just a big-ticket item" for his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team. "You've got to really be careful as far as what you think you're learning, for Charlotte in particular," Harvick said Tuesday during an appearance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "By the time we go back ... so many things are going to change and evolve. "You cannot be scared to do something different than what you did there last time just for the fact that this sport evolves on a weekly basis," he said. Teams pay close attention to what others are doing, and none are more closely watched than those that are successful. And few have been as successful as Harvick and his team. Fresh off a victory last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , Harvick's riding a six-race run dating back to the close of the '14 season that’s seen him post three victories while posting three runnerup finishes. That's an average finishing position of 1.5. Eye-popping stuff. Envious stuff. Folks notice. "The next thing you know," he said, "everybody's doing what you're doing and if you aren’t forward thinking, you're going to get left behind pretty fast." Crew chief Rodney Childers will tinker, but as Harvick said, so much will change before teams return here in two months. Try "to hit on something that improves what we're doing and not really worry about characteristics for Charlotte," Harvick said, "because it's going to have more grip, it's going to be faster; all those things will be different ... in May." Goodyear conducted a tire test at CMS on Tuesday, with drivers Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ), Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), Kasey Kahne ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and J.J. Yeley ( BK Racing ) participating. Those four teams are expected to return today, and will be joined by Harvick (SHR), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Ricky Stenhouse Jr . ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ) and Michael McDowell ( Leavine Family Racing ). Although no official announcement has been made, it is expected that this year's Sprint All-Star Race at CMS (Saturday, May 16) will feature the 2016 rules package, which includes even less downforce on the cars than the 2015 package. Harvick says that would be a "great way to understand what needs to be changed; you get to see some real racing environment stuff. "It allows everybody to kind of get their arms around was it good, was it bad, was it better?" he said. Thus far this year, a combination of less downforce and horsepower hasn't slowed the cars down and in some cases they're actually turning faster lap speeds. "As drivers you obviously realize that the corner speeds are way up this year and the only way to get them down is to make a really big change like they're talking about making," Harvick said. "It's taken awhile to get everybody on the same page when you start taking 600, 700, 800 pounds of downforce off the cars, and ... understanding how that's going to affect the teams, the financial commitment, what will they have to change on their cars to get this rules package to where it needs to be?" Less downforce means it's back to the drawing board for tire supplier Goodyear, which ran its Tuesday tests at CMS with the '16 rules package. Several other tests with the setup are scheduled throughout the season. "When you start taking those corner speeds and slowing them down by 15-20 mph, the tires can do a lot of different things than they do right now," Harvick said. "We've been to Atlanta where corner speeds were up 13-14 mph and Vegas they were up 15-18 mph compared to last year. "I know the track (qualifying) record went down at Las Vegas ... that's just a result of the entry speed not being as great as it was and the corner speeds being up; you can just maintain that entry speed all the way through the corner." While Harvick's team has been the class of the SHR organization, owner/driver Tony Stewart has struggled, posting finishes of 42nd, 30th and 33rd this season. He heads to this weekend's stop in Phoenix 34th in points. Because drivers have different preferences for what they want their car to do and how they want it to feel, it’s not as simple as putting Harvick ’s setup into Stewart’s No. 14 entry, he said. "As you look at the packages and the way we all drive, they're drastically different in throttle traces and steering traces and fields," said Harvick . "Whether it's myself or (teammate) Danica (Patrick) or Tony, everybody wants something different in their car. "So much to do with it is style, and a lot of that is just communication between you and your engineers and everybody being on the same page. If we just put my stuff in Tony's car, it would be hard to just say that that's going to fix all the problems. "I think right now everybody is just in an analyzing phase of really trying to understand exactly what direction we need to go to help and that’s what we’ll continue to do." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kevin Harvick continues his Phoenix domination by taking his seventh checkered flag at the desert mile.