Kevin Harvick, the most successful driver this season, will not be able to compete for the Cup championship after falling eight points shy of qualifying. He was unable to make the field at Homestead-Miami Speedway because of a transmission problem on his Chevrolet.
Harvick has two victories and has been running up front most of the time. His average starting position over the last five seasons is 4th and he has never finished lower than 2nd. However, he had bad luck with cars breaking down around him and penalties taking away wins. He also had a controversial incident with Kyle Busch at Las Vegas where it was believed that he used dirty tricks to get past him on the track.
This is the first time since 2001 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the title that someone other than a Hendrick driver has been named champion. Jeff Gordon has been given the honor because of his dominant performance this year. He has six wins this season which is a record for most in a single season. He also has only lost one race this year where Kevin Harvick took away his win at Atlanta due to an accident involving several drivers including Martin Truex Jr. before the start/finish line.
Gordon has proven himself to be one of the best drivers ever by winning three championships so far.
Kevin Harvick drives the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in the NASCAR Cup Series full-time. Harvick has 58 career wins at the highest level of NASCAR, including triumphs in the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Brickyard 400, and Southern 500. He's also a four-time winner of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Harvick's first Daytona 500 win came in 2008 when he was driving for Richard Childress Racing. Since then, he has gone on to win three more times with SHR (2011, 2012, & 2015).
He has also been victorious at the Coke Zero 400 (2009), Brickyard 400 (2011), and Southern 500 (2015).
As a result, Harvick has now become the first driver to win the Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Brickyard 400, and Southern 500. He has also the most wins at any single race with four.
Additionally, Harvick is one of only six drivers to have won the Daytona 500, Pepsi 400 (now FedEx FIre 250), and The Coca-Cola 600. He's the only driver to have won the three races from the first season that they were held simultaneously (Daytona 500, Pepsi 400).
In his first year with SHR, Harvick won the NASCAR Cup Series championship in convincing fashion in 2014. It all started with a dominant preseason test at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and ended with a decisive victory in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Harvick's team owner, Stewart, had announced earlier in the season that this was going to be Stewart-Haas Racing's last season before switching over to Ford for 2015. In fact, Harvick delivered an emotional speech on race day thanking Stewart for giving him his first chance in NASCAR and saying goodbye.
Additionally, Harvick became the first driver to win the title in his rookie season since Jimmie Johnson in 2001. The only other SHR champion before Harvick was Tony Stewart in 1999.
He is also the first driver to win the title without ever winning a race during the season. However, he did finish no worse than second in every race except for the Daytona 500 where he finished third. This includes a fourth-place run at Phoenix that put him within one point of Johnson at the top of the standings.
The 2014 season was also the first time in history that two different drivers have won the championship in the same year. Johnson won his fifth championship after having back-to-back runner-up finishes the previous two seasons from Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski.
Kevin Harvick has won at 22 of the 24 NASCAR Cup Series circuits presently on the schedule. Scroll through the breakdown of Harvick's 53 career wins by track; he only has two locations where he hasn't won: Kentucky Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Harvick's two defeats at Kentucky and his only loss at Charlotte were both due to disqualifications for excessive racing. He also had a crash at Kansas that prevented him from winning that race as well.
The most recent race at both venues was in October 2015. Since then, Ky. Speedway has converted their entire track into a asphalt surface, while the CMASCAR Roval is still made up of concrete lanes though they are now interchangeable with white paint instead of black.
Harvick is one of only three drivers (along with Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth) who have never lost a race when leading either lap or margin of victory entering the next event. The other two are still active in today's season.
Overall, Harvick is one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR history having won six championships over 20 years. His absence will be felt but not enough to hurt his record of success before and after his retirement in 2016.
Harvick joined SHR in 2014 after 13 years with Richard Childress Racing, where he won his first Cup Series title in his first season with three-time Cup Series winner Tony Stewart and Gene Haas. He's also been involved in several high-profile incidents over his career, including a wreck with Jeff Gordon that resulted in Gordon being banned from one race and a crash with Jimmie Johnson that left him with two broken legs.
In addition to racing, Harvick has had considerable success outside of NASCAR as well. He went 8-4 against Johnson in the 2018 season with Harvick winning six races to Johnson's two. Also, during the 2017 season it was reported that Harvick was worth $55 million while Johnson was estimated to be worth $75 million.
Harvick's success on the track led to him becoming one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR history. He surpassed David Pearson as the all-time leading winner in the Cup Series with his victory last year at California. Harvick also holds the record for the most consecutive seasons with at least one win (four straight from 2009-2012).
Additionally, Harvick is the all-time leader in playoff races started with 10 appearances. He has won three times en route to claiming the series championship in 2004 with Greg Biffle.