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NASHVILLE — The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and perpetual title contender Kevin Harvick was philosophic about his 2021 season — the first winless year he has had at the NASCAR Cup Series level since 2009.
Asked about the year, Harvick reminded reporters Thursday he finished in the exact same championship position in 2021 — fifth place — when he went winless that he did in 2020 when he won nine races.
“I think our guys did a good job,” Harvick said at the Music City Center before the NASCAR Awards. “Obviously we‘d love to have won, but we did a great job in managing the season. I don‘t know what it says with how we currently exist with our current system.”
He added with a smile: “We won nine times last year and finished fifth, and we won nothing this year and finished fifth. I don‘t really know how to take that, personally.”
Harvick extended his run of 20 or more top-10 finishes to nine years. He has had at least 10 top-five finishes for the past eight years. And while the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was eliminated after the second round of the NASCAR Playoffs, he did score a pair of top-10 finishes in the round before getting derailed at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He then closed out the year with top 10s in three of the final four races.
“I thought there were two or three [races] that we were in position to win and for one reason or another, running out of laps or following a roadblock, whatever the scenario was [we didn‘t get them],” Harvick said. “I thought Phoenix, the last race of the year, we didn‘t do a good job on pit road and to give ourselves a chance but I thought we had one of, or even the best car just needed to finish off track position.
“I think as you look at the season and look at the result, most people would say, ‘How did that happen?’ and that‘s just a huge credit to the guys for giving us something manageable at the end of the year.”