2012 season in the rear view: Kevin Harvick

Vitals: 8th in the points standings. 1 win, 5 top fives, 14 top 10s. 2 DNFs.

Moment to remember: Phoenix International Raceway was very good to Kevin Harvick.

Harvick finished second and led 88 laps in the spring race at the track and then in the fall, took the lead on a lap 305 restart and held on for 15 laps for the victory, slipping and sliding through the fluid from Danica Patrick's wrecked race car in turns 3 and 4 on the way to the checkered flag. (And while the rest of the field crashed behind him.)

Moment to forget: Having finished outside the top 10 in the first five Chase races, Harvick's Chase chances weren't exactly good when the series hit Martinsville for the second time. And his expired engine made them worse, as it let go with 27 laps remaining in the race. Harvick finished 32nd.

The wrap: Cupcake made the Chase on a string of consistently top-half of the field finishes and a lack of DNFs. (Kyle Busch finished in the top five eight more times than Harvick did, and he didn't make the Chase.)

But, just like teammates Jeff Burton and Paul Menard, the speed to win races just wasn't there on a weekly basis for Harvick. Seven wins over the last two seasons led to consecutive third place finishes for Harvick, and it really looked for a while that Harvick was going to go winless in 2012 until those final laps at Phoenix.

Harvick is reportedly headed to Stewart-Haas Racing, but that's not until 2014. He's still got another year with Richard Childress Racing. Will his final season at Childress be one where he's fighting to stay in the Chase or battling for multiple victories?

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