Through The Gears:  Kevin Harvick getting better with age

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light For The Farmers Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 7, 2020 in Hampton, Ga.


The NASCAR Cup Series boys are hard on the gas pedal this week with another midweek catch-up race followed by a trip to South Florida.

Kevin Harvick’s victory Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway has Ford’s Team Blue Oval atop the chart with six manufacturer wins through 10 races.

It’s time to crank it up and get to the latest news.

FIRST GEAR: While other drivers in their 40s are likely contemplating retirement, 44-year-old Kevin Harvick seems to be gaining momentum with age.

Harvick became the oldest driver to win at Atlanta since Dale Earnhardt, then 48, captured a race at the 1.5-mile oval in 2000.

Harvick scored his second win of the season and pushed up the all-time win chart with 51 wins, breaking a three-way tie with Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett.

He looks to be in championship form once again with nine top-10 finishes. The only non-top-10 blemish on Harvick’s record? The Cup points leader finished 11th at Bristol.

SECOND GEAR:  The NASCAR Cup Series is getting closer and closer to catching up with its original schedule.

When the slate was first announced last year Sonoma Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway would have been the next two races.

Instead the Cup Series circus is heading to Martinsville on Wednesday and Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, then it’s on to Talladega for some white-knuckle racing.

The schedule is even confusing drivers.

“On to Martinsville and Homestead, and somewhere in between there,” driver Austin Dillon said. “It’s going to be a busy week.”

Pocono holds serve with its unprecedented Cup Series doubleheader scheduled June 27-28, followed by trips to Indianapolis and Kentucky before the July 15 All-Star Race back at Charlotte.

The All-Star had been set for mid-May.

Because of the coronavirus break, NASCAR’s two network partners will be handing off from week to week for a while.

For instance, NBC Sports gets into the act with the Brickyard 400 (July 5) but then Fox returns for the race at Kentucky (July 11), so for a time it will be back to “check your local listings.”

THIRD GEAR: It’s going to be a long, hot summer for NASCAR Cup Series competitors.

The heat at Atlanta beat down several drivers, especially Bubba Wallace, who nearly passed out on pit road during a live, post-race television interview.

“Not the day we wanted for our Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 McDonald’s Chevrolet, that’s for sure,” Wallace said after finishing 21st.

FOURTH GEAR:  Kyle Busch, who is still looking for his first win, is way off his 10-race mark from a year ago. The 2019 Cup Series champion had three victories by this time last season.

“I can’t say enough about all my guys, Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody, they’re doing a really good job,” Busch said. “We’re working hard and trying to get it all better.”

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