Parks Pit Report: Ticket Guardian 500

Twice as nice now becomes a three-peat. Kevin Harvick has established himself as the one to beat this year.

The Los Angeles Lakers did it when Kobe and Shaq were teamed up.  The Chicago Bulls pulled it off not just once, but twice, with M.J. as the leader.

Winning three in a row is an achievement that is hard to do in any sport.  Not even the Patriots can say they won three Super Bowls in a row, despite having six to their credit.

In NASCAR, the only time it got to be a big deal of being a 3-peat was when Jimmie Johnson decided to run off not just three, but five championships in a row between 2006 and 2010.

However, winning three races in a row anymore is a rarity.  Despite it happening in 2015 with Joey Logano, it is few and far between that such a moment can happen.  Not to mention do so in definitive fashion.

But if you look at the last three weeks, and see what the No. 4 team of Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing has done, it’s remarkable.

Their dominance in Atlanta and Las Vegas is undisputed, but heading into this week the adversity they faced was extremely high.  On Wednesday when NASCAR revealed penalties from their winning car that was found in the post-race teardown at the R&D Center, Harvick was irate, as were members of his team.  The penalty for the rear window brace was likely going to be minor, seeing as it was clear there was deflection in the back glass.  But coupled in with the side skirt not being the right material, it just made it more clear that NASCAR was doing a penalty.

Harvick was more upset that it was media outside the track, and fans in a way, that were responsible for the penalty.  He went as far as saying fans should not dictate penalties in any sport, noting back to when a fan went on Twitter during an LPGA weekend to note a player had a violation and the officials went back to find out they made a mistake.

In his eyes, the officials at the track are the ones who should make the calls, and not those on a laptop at home.

His team came in with a focus to basically tell those that made NASCAR aware of what they saw that they still were the team to beat, especially coming to a place that basically is Harvick’s yard, and until someone takes it from him, he’s the big dog.

Sunday, he came out, and although it took a while, he found his way back to the front, and in the end, he found his way back to victory.

Afterwards, his team met him on the track, and Harvick climbed out, and patted the rear window to prove it was as sturdy as it was when the race started, and that it was not only going to pass post-race at the track, but will also pass the big teardown in Charlotte.

Three races in a row Harvick has stood tall, and he’s shown that the Ford camp is ready to take back a championship it has not won since 2004.  If Harvick leads the way now, he’s well on his way to achieving what he did in 2014 at Homestead.

“Happy” just needs to keep doing exactly what he’s doing, and proving to both his supporters and his haters, that the road to victory has a lot of Busch Beer and Jimmy Johns subs.  Hope everyone is hungry and has a designated driver.

STAGE 1:  Kyle Busch

STAGE 2:  Kurt Busch

RESULTS:  1-Harvick  2-Kyle Busch  3-Elliott  4-Hamlin  5-Truex Jr.  6-Bowyer  7-Almirola  8-Suarez  9-Jones  10-Kurt Busch

NOTABLE FINISHES:  14-Johnson  15-Keselowski  17-Dillon  19-Logano

CAUTIONS:  6 for 36 laps.  26-33 (Fluid on backstretch from #72/Competition Caution); 77-83 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 123-126 (#42 Incident-T4); 147-149 (#37 Incident-T4); 152-158 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 192-198 (#21 Incident-T2).

LEAD CHANGES:  15 among 9 drivers.  M. Truex Jr. POLE; K. Larson 1-30; M. Truex Jr. 31-33; K. Larson 34-57; Kyle Busch 58-123; B. Keselowski 124-128; Kyle Busch 129-147; Kurt Busch 148-153; Kyle Busch 154-178; K. Harvick 179-194; W. Byron # 195-209; D. Hamlin 210-242; Kyle Busch 243-260; B. Keselowski 261-267; R.
Newman 268-290; K. Harvick 291-312.

TIME OF RACE:  2 Hrs, 53 Mins, 13 Secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  108.073 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  0.774 Seconds

POINT STANDINGS (Earned/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]):  1. Harvick, 168 [11]; 2. Kyle Busch, -12 [1]; 3. Truex Jr, -12; 4. Logano, -16; 5. Blaney, -16 [1]; 6. Hamlin, -31; 7. Keselowski, -34 [1]; 8. Larson, -37; 9. Bowyer, -43; 10. Almirola, -45

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