Can Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin Continue Their Domination in the 2021 NASCAR Regular Season?

Published 01/05/2021, 8:30 AM EST
MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light Ford, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota speaks with members of the media during NASCAR 2019 Championship 4 Media Day at the Edition Hotel on November 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)


One of the biggest stories of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season was the domination of Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Two of NASCAR’s most senior drivers won a combined 16 races all year and looked a class apart.

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Neither of them winning the title came as a major shock to fans and the entire NASCAR community. Harvick’s elimination in the Round of 8 of the playoffs was one of the biggest upsets of the season and was followed by Hamlin’s inability to win the championship race.

Such are the standards the two drivers have set for themselves, that anything short of a title win for either comes as a surprise.

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However, Harvick and Hamlin did not display this form just in the 2020 season. In fact, they have combined for 26 wins in the last 72 NASCAR Cup Series races. This amounts to a staggering 36% of races won by just these two drivers in that time frame.

HAMPTON, GA – SEPTEMBER 05: Kevin Harvick (L), driver of the #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, talks with Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the #11 Farm Bureau Toyota, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2009 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

The big question is, can they keep up the domination in 2021 as well?

If they do, can either of them finally keep it up in the playoffs and go on to win the title?

Harvick’s recent performances and chances for 2021

Some of Harvick’s most dominant performances over the last couple of seasons have come at venues such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and the Darlington Raceway, to name a few.

The 2021 season, though, will present him with a different kind of challenge. NASCAR has added seven road courses on the 2021 calendar, and Harvick has not had the best of times on such tracks in recent years.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 14: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Car2Can Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV Duel At DAYTONA #1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The first road course on the schedule is the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, where NASCAR debuted only last season. Harvick achieved a paltry 17th-place finish there. Additionally, he only has one top-five finish in his last seven road course races in NASCAR.

He has a couple of wins on NASCAR road courses in the past, and can certainly run strongly there if he corrects his mistakes of the last few races. The 45-year-old star is a contender on most tracks, to be honest.

Hamlin’s recent performances and chances for 2021

Hamlin set the tone in both the last two seasons with a win in the season-opening iconic Daytona 500. He also has done well at Bristol and earned a playoff win at Talladega last season, which is one of the most challenging races.

On the road courses, Hamlin has a much better recent record than Harvick. He has three top-five finishes in his last five races on such tracks. This includes a second-place finish behind Chase Elliott at the Daytona Road Course last year.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Additionally, he is the newest entrant in the ’40-year-olds club.’ Hamlin knows time is running out quickly for him now in his quest for a maiden Cup title.

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Will Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin continue to dominate?

There is no reason why Harvick and Hamlin cannot continue their dominance next year as well. However, the likes of Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson are just a few names who will be breathing down their necks.

After 10 wins in 2019, they combined for 16 wins in 2020. If they keep up such a rate of improvement, they could very well create more history in the 2021 season.

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Aayush Majumdar

948 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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