“There Is Probably Some Desperation”: Kevin Harvick Explains Harsh Reality for Drivers in the Bubble as Playoffs Edge Closer

Published 07/17/2023, 9:34 AM EDT

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As the Cup Series inches closer to the playoffs, the intensity on the racetrack continues to rise. With the pressure and stakes rising every week, drivers are feeling the heat. Kevin Harvick, renowned for his expertise on the NHMS track, shed light on the harsh reality faced by drivers who find themselves below the cut-off line. In a recent interview, the Stewart-Haas Racing ace provided insight into the desperation and unpredictable strategies employed by these drivers in their quest to secure a playoff spot.

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The Cup Series weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway is underway, setting the stage for an action-packed on Monday. With each passing week, drivers face mounting pressure to secure their position in the playoffs. A reporter caught up with Kevin Harvick during a pre-race presser and inquired about the growing intensity. Harvick’s response reveals a deeper understanding of the situation.

Unconventional tactics: The desperation of drivers in the bubble

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Kevin Harvick acknowledges that while the stakes are high every week, there is a heightened sense of desperation for those below the cut-off line. He referred to recent races in Atlanta and Chicago, where drivers resorted to unconventional strategies in hopes of gaining an advantage.

Further, Harvick emphasized the ever-present possibility of unexpected outcomes, with underdogs and bubble drivers defying the odds to secure their spot in the playoffs. “Some of those circumstances at Atlanta with people staying out, hoping for rain, and Chicago, you know, trying to put yourself in a position with the pit cycle and things like that,” said Harvick.

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Harvick’s statement reflects the reality faced by drivers in the bubble. They are willing to take risks, execute Hail Marys, and explore unorthodox tactics to improve their chances of making it to the postseason. Harvick mentioned, “I think there is probably some desperation […] There’s definitely some Hail Marys, they work every once in a while, so you just, you never know, right?”

It highlights the intense competition and the lengths drivers will go to in pursuit of their championship dreams, particularly because of multiple restarts and the difficulty of passing others with the Next Gen cars. However, Harvick has a simple solution in place for himself.

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Navigating the unpredictability on tracks: Kevin Harvick reveals his plan from the 2015 season

While the desperation is palpable, the element of unpredictability looms large in the NASCAR Cup Series. Harvick recognizes the uncertainty that comes with the sport, where strategies that seem far-fetched can yield unexpected results. Thus, this unpredictability adds a thrilling element to the races and keeps fans on the edge of their seats.

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Harvick’s experience on the track and his observation of drivers below the cut-off line provides valuable insight into the mindset of these competitors. Further, their determination to secure a playoff spot drives them to explore every available opportunity. From pit cycle strategies to banking on unpredictable weather conditions, these drivers showcase their versatility and adaptability in the face of adversity.

However, Kevin Harvick feels that such last-ditch efforts can be detrimental. He revealed his approach, saying, “For us, it doesn’t really change, because in 2015, we just decided to race every week like it was the playoff week. […] If you have to switch gears, it’s a big trouble, because it’s a different way to race.”

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Meanwhile, as the NASCAR Cup Series continues to gain momentum, the pressure on drivers intensifies. Kevin Harvick’s candid remarks provide valuable insight into the mindset of these drivers, highlighting their relentless pursuit of a playoff spot. Besides, the NASCAR Cup Series never fails to deliver excitement, unpredictability, and an unwavering spirit of competition. So, as the playoff edges closer, fans can expect more nail-biting moments and surprising turns in the race to the championship.

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Written by:

Semran Parvaiz

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Semran Parvaiz is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. With her long-standing love for motorsports and experience as a journalist, Semran brings a wealth of expertise to the team. Combining journalistic integrity with a deep understanding of the readership, she is known to weave engaging stories that offer unique insights into the dynamic world of stock-car racing.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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