Kevin Harvick 2012 Stats: Points Finish – 9th, 1 Win, 5 Top Fives, 14 Top Tens, Average Running Position 12.9, Average Finish 12.1, Laps Led 265, Driver Rating 91.1
Strengths - Harvick’s greatest strength is consistency. His equipment is nearly bullet proof and he does a good job avoiding trouble on the track. Last season he only had two finishes of 25th or worse. Harvick is also a versatile driver who has fantasy value on every track type.
Weaknesses - One weakness this season is his lame duck status. In past lame duck years he’s had some of the best seasons of his career. This lame duck situation is different because we know he won’t be resigning with RCR. I don’t think Childress is a vengeful owner who’ll sabotage Harvick. He wants this team to be strong for it’s future 2014 driver.
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Intermediate Track Grade- B+, Last season Harvick scored the 4th most points on this track type. That ranking is largely due to how consistent he performed and his ability to avoid bad finishes. Last year he had a 9.8 average finish and never had a result lower than 16th. His 4th place ranking can be misleading though. He only had three top five finishes and only looked like a serious contender at Atlanta. Typically at these tracks Harvick is at his best when the high line comes into play. Harvick has ranked good on intermediate tracks the past few seasons. In 2011 he scored the 4th most points and in 2010 he scored the 2nd most points.
Flat Track Grade- A-, Harvick was very good at flat tracks last year, especially at the smaller ones. At small flat tracks last year he scored the second most points, won a race, and had a 5.5 average finish. At big flat tracks he wasn’t as strong but he was still decent. His finishes at those tracks were 13th (Indy), 14th (Pocono) and 16th (Pocono). Between the big flats and the small flats combined he accumulated the 4th most points on this track type. In 2011 Harvick scored the 8th most points and in 2010 he scored the most points in the series.
Short Track Grade- A-, Harvick wasn’t himself on short tracks last year. He scored the 17th most points and only had one top ten finish. He lone top ten was a 10th in the Richmond cutoff race. It’s important to note Harvick is just one season removed from scoring the most points in the series on this track type (2011). For the most part I think it’s best to just forget about how he performed at these venues last season. He has strong fantasy value at Martinsville and Richmond but if you watched him last year you would’ve never known it. In recent years at Bristol he’s been a low double digit performer.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- A-, Harvick is one of the best restrictor plate racers in NASCAR. He hasn’t been at his best the last two season’s but make no mistake he’s about as good as it gets on plate tracks, especially now that the draft is back. Last season he had one top ten and scored the 12th most points. At Daytona he’s finished in the top ten in five out of the last eight races. At NASCAR’s biggest track (Talladega) he’s led laps in the last seven races and has finished in the top 11 in four out of the last six races. In 2010 Harvick scored the most points on this track type.
Road Course Track Grade- B+, Harvick is a skilled road course racer. He’s a previous winner at Watkins Glen and he’s come close to winning at Infineon. Last year he didn’t show much muscle at these serpentine tracks. He had finishes of 16th (Infineon) and 15th (Watkins Glen). His finishes in both races were pretty representative of how well he performed. Typically at these tracks you can pencil Harvick in for a finish between 7th and 15th.
How to use Kevin Harvick from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2013? In 2013 I would focus on picking Harvick at short flat tracks, intermediate tracks, and plate tracks.