Prior to the March 29 NASCAR race weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway that culminated in the running of the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race, perhaps, the biggest question swirling throughout the NASCAR fanbase and media corps was when would Kevin Harvick be stopped or slowed, or if it was even possible. Apparently, Martinsville was just the medicine the competition needed, or was it?
Harvick, the reigning Sprint Cup champ, entered the Martinsville race weekend on a streak of eight consecutive top-two finishes, dating back to the final three races of 2014. It just so happened that the streak began the week after a somewhat dismal race at Martinsville during the circuits second 2014 visit to the Virginia short track. Coincidentally, the next Martinsville visit, the aforementioned March 29 race, would bring an end to the top-two streak.
But was Harvick really stopped? I don’t really think so. Sure, the top-two streak came to an end, but Harvick did post yet another top-10 finish during the most recent Martinsville Speedway visit. Granted, his eighth-place finish in the most recent race wasn’t a top-two; heck, it wasn’t even a top-five. But it was a ninth-straight top-10, an impressive stat by, I think, any reasonable person’s standards.
Harvick may not start another lengthy string of top-two finishes this season, by judging by his performance so far, I don’t see an end to a season of consistent solid performances. He may have a hiccup or two here or there throughout the remainder of 2015; and there’s a lot of the 2015 season left. But I look for him to continue his trend of running up front and finishing at or near the front more often than not from here on out through the rest of the season.
Sure, the season is still young, as six of 36 points-paying races — six of 26 regular-season — races are still to go, but performances, so far, have me second-guessing my preseason picks. To refresh your memory, I picked Jeff Gordon to take the Sprint Cup in his final year of full-time competition, but I’m not feeling so confident in that pick anymore.
Granted, anything can happed, especially with this new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, but I think, at this point, I think I would feel more confident with a Harvick pick. But I’m going to stick to my original pick, though; that’s only fair. I mean, how would it look if I changed my pick with each changing trend. Still, I have to admit, I’m not quite as confident in my pick as I was about two months ago.
Let us know what you think. Talk to us on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner.
But, before you go, check out our 2015 Kevin Harvick photo gallery (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).