Kevin Harvick understands that the type of season he had in 2020 doesn’t happen all the time. Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team were dominant in the NASCAR Cup Series with nine wins, over 1,500 laps led, and claiming the regular-season championship.
Harvick went as far as to call it a career year, even though the playoffs didn’t turn out so well for him. His focus now is all on 2021.
“The expectations are obviously the same as they were every other year,” said Harvick during Daytona 500 Media Day. “I think as you look back, you capitalized on the days you’re good. You capitalized on some days when people had trouble, and we ran well at the racetracks we were supposed to run well at and made good days out of them. It was definitely a great year.
“I think as we go into this year, the expectations are to be competitive and try to put yourself in position to win races again. This is something that we do every year, and last year we were just fortunate to put ourselves in victory lane a few more times than we had in the past; so they’re not all going to go like that, but that’s the goal.”
Harvick’s season came to an unexpected end when he failed to advance into the Championship 4. A rough day at Martinsville Speedway in which the team struggled with the handling of their Ford Mustang left Harvick looking for a Hail Mary off Turn 4. It didn’t work and Harvick, considered the championship favorite, was not in the hunt in the final race.
Despite the disappointing elimination, Harvick isn’t one to do much reflecting. A character trait of the 2014 champion and his team has always been to focus forward, and Harvick puts his energy into looking at the next week and winning the next race. No matter the result on Sunday, the preparation doesn’t change on Monday.
“I think in the end, it didn’t really matter,” Harvick said. “We ran terrible at Phoenix, so it’s not like you were going to win the championship anyway.”
If the team hasn’t moved on from last year, Harvick doesn’t want to talk about it. He was over it about a week into the offseason. And in this business, Harvick doesn’t believe there is much time to dwell on the past — and certainly not when a new one is about to begin.
“If you’re going to continue to be good at what you do, you have to be able to put your mind back to work and take the things that went wrong and make them better, refocus, and use those things as motivation,” said Harvick. “I think those guys know that. I feel like I’m wasting my breath talking about everything that happened last year because we’ve talked about what went wrong, and I’ve moved on and tried to be ready for this season — to do the things that you need to do to get the season started right and be competitive on a week-to-week basis.
“They know that I’ll get pretty frustrated if they want to sit and dwell on what happened last year when we’re already into just over a week away from the Daytona 500. They better have moved on. If they haven’t, they don’t talk to me about it.”