One of the most consistent drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series has just made history. Kevin Harvick finished fifth overall in the championship race and broke a tie with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
Harvick entered the finale weekend with 18 consecutive top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway. This put him in a tie with Petty and Earnhardt for the most consecutive top-10s at a single track. Petty did so at North Wilkesboro Speedway between 1968-1977 while Earnhardt set his mark at North Wilkesboro Speedway between 1983 and 1992.
Harvick, for comparison, now has 19 consecutive top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway, which is the most all-time at a single track. This historic run also includes six of his nine career wins at the track and four straight in 2013-2015. Just as impressive is the fact that he has made 40 starts at Phoenix Raceway, and he has completed every single race.
Harvick Continued Another Standout Streak at Phoenix Raceway
Setting a new mark at a single track is one thing that will play a role in the eventual Hall of Fame discussions surrounding Harvick. The voters will also take into consideration his Iron Man run in the Cup Series.
When Harvick climbed into the No. 4 Ford Mustang on November 6, he became only the seventh driver to start every single race for 20 consecutive seasons. He joined a historic list that also includes Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon, and Bobby Labonte.
As Harvick noted during a morning meet and greet with Xfinity Rewards customers, he could have actually hit this mark earlier in his career. However, he said that he had made a mistake that stopped his streak early.
Harvick has been a full-time driver since the 2001 season, but he actually missed one race in 2002. NASCAR suspended him for intentionally spinning Coy Gibbs at Martinsville Speedway after saying that he was “going to go get him.” He was on probation at the time for an incident involving Greg Biffle.
Harvick Will Be Back for More
The 2022 Cup Series season came to an end with Harvick securing his 245th career top-five finish. He now heads to the offseason sitting 10th on the all-time list, but he will have 36 more opportunities to add to his total during the 2023 season.
Harvick will make his return to the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, and he will pursue more strong finishes. If he adds just one more top-five during the 2023 season, he will tie Buck Baker for ninth all-time. Adding 10 more will put him in a tie for eighth with Cale Yarborough.
Will Harvick tie Yarborough during what could be his final season in the NASCAR Cup Series? That remains unknown. He only had nine top-five finishes in 2022, but he had 10 in 2021 and 20 in 2020. He has also secured double-digit top-fives during 11 of his 22 seasons at the top level of NASCAR.
Of course, top fives are not the only stats that can add to Harvick’s historic resume. He also needs 16 starts to pass Jeff Gordon (805) for ninth all-time and 20 to pass Darrell Waltrip (809) for eighth all-time. If he wins one more Cup Series race, he will break a tie with Kyle Busch (60) for ninth on the all-time list.