Harvick-Logano. It’s kind of got the same ring as Hatfield-McCoy, Montague- Capulet, or more fitting- Earnhardt-Waltrip. Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano have dogging each other all year, and now, guess what? No matter whether you go by the Chase format, or even look at who is best by the “classic” points system (source: jayski.com) Logano and Harvick are 1-2.
Let’s take a quick trip down Memory Lane shall we? It all started when Joey Logano was a frustrated young driver seemingly on the fast track to “bust” status. His only victory to this point was a victory at a rain-shortened in New Hampshire. Things were looking up for the “greatest thing since sliced bread” at Pocono when Harvick’s 29 rubbed Logano’s 20, costing the youngster a top five run. After the race, Logano quipped that it probably wasn’t his opponent’s fault, because DeLana Harvick “wears the fire suit in the family.” Oh, let’s not forget this little nugget from an Xfinity Series race at Bristol earlier in the year.
It’s funny how life plays out. Fast forward to 2014. Logano enjoys a breakout campaign with Roger Penske’s team, shedding any last thought of the maturing driver as a “never was.” Logano makes the final four in NASCAR’s new playoff system. Who has become Logano’s sponsor? None other than Shell/Pennzoil, who once sponsored, you guessed it, Kevin Harvick. Meanwhile, Logano’s arch-nemesis finds a new lease on life at Stewart-Haas Racing and shakes his bridesmaid status to win the whole enchilada.
The Harvick-Logano rivalry also renews at the outset of 2015. At the Sprint Unlimited, the two renewed pleasantries, pushing and shoving and more fiery words exchanged afterwards. Nothing terribly serious at the non-points event, just a reminder of how things go between these two.
How this season has played out has only spiced up the rivalry. Eight days after the Sprint Unlimited, Joey Logano wins the season-opening Daytona 500. Harvick finishes second. Harvick picks up a pair of wins in March with Logano finishing top ten in those events. As the season progresses, Logano remains consistent, Harvick even more so, with seven second place finishes following his March success.
Tensions reach a fever pitch at Watkins Glen in August. Logano and Harvick play cat and mouse for lap after lap. At just the moment you think that the veteran from Bakersfield might lay a fender on the lanky twentysomething from Connecticut, the kid prevails; Kyle Busch passes Harvick, who settles for third. What do they say about revenge being a dish best served cold? At the same place where their history first began to heat up, the Logano’s Ford beats out Harvick’s Chevrolet for the win.
Harvick stumbles in the first two Chase races, but have no fear; who is the driver who wins just when he needs to? Facing potential elimination, Harvick takes the checkered flag at Dover. One week later, it’s Logano in Victory Lane with none other than Happy as runner-up.
Five years ago, this wasn’t much of a rivalry. Kevin Harvick, a racer in the vein of Dale Earnhardt (ironically, Harvick’s old 29 was once the Intimidator’s number 3) pushed Logano around like a 98-pound weakling. Now- both are on top of their respective games. It’s a real rivalry, featuring two distinctly different personalities who don’t care much for each other. Harvick’s defending his title; Logano is poised to knock him off.
Harvick-Logano. The stage is set for an epic showdown.