He doesn't have the point lead any longer, but Kevin Harvick is still confident about his championship fortunes as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets ready to kick off the Chase next Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Harvick was on top of the regular season point standings for much of the 26 races that led up to the start of the Chase, but will start the playoff run in the third seed behind Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. With the Chase seeded based on victories, Harvick's three wins means he'll start 30 points back of Hamlin who scored six victories, and Harvick is fine with that turn of events.
"Barring things that we can't control, I think we have as good of a chance to win as we have ever had and it is in our best interest to concentrate on ourselves," Harvick said of not worrying about his seed or competitors. "I want to do our own thing and just concentrate on that."
Harvick believes the best approach is to try and block out outside distractions and put his attention on running well, one of the things he feels somewhat in his control.
"It is better to race yourself at this point," he said. "There are so many things that you can’t control, but there are so many things that you can. We need to concentrate on the things that we can control and try not to make mistakes... Those are the types of things that you can’t do in the Chase. Right now you can make those mistakes and go home and sleep fine."
The consistent first 26 races that saw Harvick become one of the most dominant drivers in the series of terms of top five and top-10 finishes proved to the Richard Childress Racing driver there's no need to change what works now that the Chase is here.
"I'm not going to do anything different," Harvick said. "You're going to go out and you're going to race just like everybody else is going to race. You can’t make your car go faster, you can’t make it go slower, you can’t pit at different times. You can't do anything different than what you've done."
One thing Harvick plans to do during the 10-race championship run is try to live up to his nickname... "Happy."
"We need to have fun with it, to be honest with you, just because when we started the year, everyone expected us to have a disaster again," said Harvick. "So to be in the position that we're in, we know that this is the best opportunity we've had to race for a championship.
"Whether we can win or lose, it's yet to be seen. But man, this is the position that everybody wants to be in and this is the position we want to be in. So, we've just got to go see what happens."