2011 Stats: Points Finish 3rd, 9 Wins, 4 Top Fives, 19 Top Tens, Average Running Position 13.2, Average Finish 11.5, Laps Led 403, Driver Rating 92.2
Strengths- Kevin Harvick is an elite driver who can excel on all five different track types. In addition to his talent he’s also an extremely consistent driver. His DNF totals every year are among the lowest in the series.
In the closing laps of races Harvick knows how to get up on the wheel and take the #29 car to victory lane. Sometimes wins fall into his lap (Charlotte) and other times he wills the car to victory lane over the best in the series (Auto Club Speedway).
Also another strength I mentioned in Jeff Burton’s and Paul Menard’s Fantasy Previews is that I think the downsizing of RCR will only help the remaining teams. RCR always performs better when their a three car team.
Weaknesses- On occasion the #29 team misses the setup. Most frequently this happens at intermediate tracks.
Intermediate Track Grade- A-, Despite only leading 73 laps last season Harvick still managed to score the 4th most points on this track type. The only drivers who scored more points then him on this track type were Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart. Last season half his wins were at these venues (Auto Club Speedway & Charlotte).
On intermediate tracks when you see Kevin Harvick running the high line expect good things to happen. He’s an elite driver at that discipline and it’s typically the fastest way around the track.
Flat Track Grade- A-, Harvick is good at both the big and small flat tracks. 2011 wasn’t his best season on the small flats but don’t let that deter you. He’s good enough to win on both of them.
Harvick has been really good at the big flat tracks. In the last two years he’s scored the most points per race (38), has the best average finish (6.7), and he’s finished in the top five more than any other driver.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- A, When people look to make a default pick on the plate tracks Harvick is the first driver who comes to many peoples mind. He had problems on this track type last season but they weren’t his fault (Daytona 500 – engine, Fall Talladega – wreck). In the two races he didn’t have problems he finished 5th and 7th.
In 2010 Harvick scored the most points in the series at these venues.
Short Track Grade- A+, Last season Harvick scored the most points in the series on short tracks. He won at two of the three venues and had the best average finish (7.7) in the series. My ranking of him on the different short tracks would be 1)Richmond 2)Martinsville 3)Bristol
Harvick’s early season win at Martinsville in 2011 made him a winner at all three short tracks. Only a handful of current drivers have accomplished that feat.
Road Course Track Grade- A-, When it comes to road courses I would consider Harvick a high second tier driver. His one road course victory came at Watkins Glen when he out dueled Tony Stewart for the win. He certainly didn’t back his way into victory lane that day. Last season he finished 9th at Infineon and 6th at Watkins Glen. In the last two seasons at road courses only Marcos Ambrose averages more points then him.
How to use Kevin Harvick from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? Harvick can be used at all of the different track types. From an allocation stanadpoint I would focus on using Harvick at plate tracks, short tracks, flat tracks, Chicagoland and Homestead.