'Underdog' Harvick still expects to win 2017 NASCAR Cup title

Kevin Harvick says he goes into the 2017 NASCAR Cup title decider as the underdog but expects to be champion

'Underdog' Harvick still expects to win 2017 NASCAR Cup title

The Texas win that secured Harvick's place in the four-way championship showdown at Homestead this weekend was only his second of the season.

He believes "the pressure is really on" Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch, who have won seven and five races this season respectively.

"Those guys have dominated the year," 2014 champion Harvick said.

"I feel like if they don't win at this point, they would probably feel like they've had a letdown.

"It's a lot of fun coming from behind and playing catch-up.

"Playing that underdog role is much easier than being expected to go down there and win.

"We expect to win."

Harvick's Stewart-Haas team switched from Chevrolet to Ford equipment ahead of the 2017 season.

He feels the team's form heading into Homestead is "by far our best" of the season, adding "it's the right time of year to be peaking".

But he believes the upheaval of the manufacturer switch makes just being in championship contention an achievement.

"We're really, really happy with where we are just for the fact that as a company we know what we went through," Harvick said.

"We are kind of playing on house money at this point, so we're going to go down there and wing it, see what happens."

Of the four title contenders, Harvick, Busch and Brad Keselowski have all won one Cup championship - with Harvick's and Busch's coming under the present winner-takes-all system.

Truex made it to the final round in 2015, while Harvick and Busch also did so in their title defence seasons but fell short.

Keselowski has not reached the final four since the format was introduced.

"These guys are not just going to cave in and give up on what they're doing," Harvick said of his rivals.

"Three of us have won championships, and Martin has won a lot of races this year."

The champion has won the deciding race at Homestead every year since the present system's debut in 2014, and Harvick - who claimed that title - said none of the protagonists could afford to underestimate the pressure on them.

"Our intention is to go down there and win the championship, and I think if you're one of those four and you don't have that mentality, you're not prepared for what you're getting into," he said.

"I feel like you're going to have to win the race.

"You're going to have to not make mistakes, and we've seen it year after year - mistakes and circumstances and things happen.

"You have to have a chance, and you have to think you can do it, and we know we can do it."

shares
comments
NASCAR aces don't understand why Kenseth doesn't have 2018 drive

Previous article

NASCAR aces don't understand why Kenseth doesn't have 2018 drive

Next article

Truex dismisses Harvick's NASCAR Cup title 'letdown' comments

Truex dismisses Harvick's NASCAR Cup title 'letdown' comments
Load comments
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020