Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin spoke this week after Harvick was eliminated at Martinsville Speedway
Kevin Harvick has 9 wins in 2020 and Denny Hamlin has 7; Only one is racing for a championship today.
All year, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick have dominated the NASCAR Cup Series scene. Together, they have 16 wins this year. Between the two of them, they’ve won nearly half of the 35 races thus far.
However, Harvick was eliminated at Martinsville Speedway. He made a desperate attempt to make the playoffs on the final lap, spinning Kyle Busch.
Had he finished behind Busch, Harvick was set to miss the playoffs by just 1 point. Instead, the move put Harvick in the wall, missing the playoffs by several more points.
However, Hamlin is still in it. He’s going for yet another win and his first career series title.
Denny Hamlin on Kevin Harvick
“I still think I’m going to have to race him,” Denny Hamlin said of Kevin Harvick.
“Until someone proves otherwise. That they’re going to win the race, but not be part of the final four, I’m going to assume that you’re still going to have to beat all 38 guys to win. And Harvick is one of them.”
“I continue to have conversations with Kevin, this week. Just, talking about this season. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to go head to head.”
“Even though we will, it’s just different. Most of the year, we looked at it as it’s me and him, head to head.
“In my mind, he was deserving of racing for a championship. But, didn’t earn it, because of the system. He had a couple mediocre finishes, not races, just finishes. It didn’t allow him to move on. Even though he’s put together an unbelievable season.”
“I’m not going to view, if we win it, any different if he was in or out. I feel proud that we made it and this is a great accomplishment for our team. We’re obviously very worth of the championship, if we can get it done.”
“I’m sure he’s frustrated. I mean, who wouldn’t be. I’ve talked to Rodney and Kevin, I understand their pain. I mean, it easily could have been the other way around.”
“It would be hard for me to say. But, would they take a three win season, making it to the final four and not winning the championship? Or 9 wins and not making the final four?”
Hamlin concluded, “I would take the nine wins and move on.”
Hamlin later added, “I would suspect they come loaded to go out and show that they should be champions. I don’t expect him to go out there and waffle around and let us race. My guess is, those guys are going to feel vindictive, go out there and beat up on everybody.”
Hamlin coming into Phoenix with a disadvantage
Hamlin has had a lot of success at Phoenix Raceway in the past. However, his data is out of date. The No. 11 team went out early in the spring race at Phoenix Raceway. That could hurt him coming into the championship race.
“There’s certainly some disadvantages. One of them is self inflicted. We didn’t have the Spring race to test,” Hamlin stated.
“Were I think we’re really good as a race team is adapting from one race early in the year. Making adjustments and being better at that race, the second time around.”
“I got in a wreck so early in the Spring. I tore up the car and we didn’t get any good data to base the setup off of. So, we’re going to have to go from scratch there. Where my competitors run pretty much all the race.”
“But hey, that’s what computers are for.”
“The other disadvantage is that we can’t lean on last year’s success. Last year, the aerodynamic package was completely different on the car. So, you can’t take any past results and apply them to this weekend, whatsoever.”