Here are the surest signs of success in NASCAR: A) Your manufacturer is accused of having an unfair advantage, and B) You get accused of cheating. Speaking of cheating, you find other teams pushing the envelope to find that edge to take you down. Such was much of the discussion concerning Ford, and their current golden boy, Kevin Harvick.
Kevin Harvick is in a zone. Many thought he’d stew over the switch by Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford. Come again? No doubt Mr. Happy had many joyous celebrations with the “Bowties” (that’s Chevrolet for those of you in Rio Linda). With five victories in the still relatively young season, it’s safe to say the 2014 champion is doing just fine.
While Ford is enjoying a great season so far, Kevin Harvick still has to be given his due as a driver. It’s still hard to believe this was the same Kevin Harvick who languished in the late 2000s with Richard Childress Racing. By now, this year’s man of the moment is just two wins away from Awesome Bill Elliott for 17th on the all-time Cup wins list. This is to say nothing of his accomplishments in the old Busch Series, which looked brilliant until some guy named Kyle Busch came along.
Too many times in his career, Harvick has nabbed wins on days where his car wasn’t the best. No one gets that lucky that often. One old driver local to my native southern Oregon says Kevin Harvick has the knack for being first out of the gas, and the first back into it in the turns.
Remember when Toyota allegedly had the unfair advantage? What? That feels like a distant memory now. It’s just the competitive landscape. Fortunes in NASCAR shift quicker than Brad Keselowski at Talladega.
With this kind of success, you go from the hunter to the hunted. Who gets picked on the most in the retail world? Wal-Mart. In the world of fast food, McDonald’s. There’s a reason for it. Right now, there are suspicious eyes cast in the direction of Ford.
It won’t last. Streaks like this don’t go on forever. For those of you lamenting the success of Kevin Harvick, remember Jeff Gordon in 2007, Kyle Busch in 2008 and Denny Hamlin and Mark Martin in other years. They all had hot streaks, but were not champions in the end. There’s too much season to go, and the playoff format doesn’t lend a ton of weight to consistency.
Until then, Kevin Harvick and Ford are having a helluva party.