Author: Chase Wilhelm
Date: Feb. 13, 2017
It’s a new beginning for Kevin Harvick for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, as the Stewart-Haas-Racing stable have ditched the Bow Ties for the Blue Ovals.
Although making the switch to Ford Performance will have its fair share of challenges, Harvick still has the same championship-winning crew chief and team behind him.
With that said, here are five keys Harvick needs to have a successful 2017 season:
Adapt to new manufacturer quickly
Switching to Ford was no small task for Harvick and the No. 4 SHR team, but this championship-caliber group has all the potential to adapt quickly and find success early.
Get off to strong start
After the first 10 races in 2016, Harvick had already scored one of his four total victories and only finished outside the top 10 twice, the worst result being 17th.
That’s the kind of solid start Harvick needs once again.
Harvick first finish outside the top 20 in 2016 didn’t come until the July race at Daytona, where he finished 39th.
Overall, he collected 17 top fives and 27 top-10 finishes.
That’s the type of consistency Harvick needs to gain maximum points under a new race format and points system.
Live up to the nickname
Over the years, Harvick has earned the nickname “The Closer” for his ability to get the most out of his racecars and finish out races strong.
But that’s not how he closed out the 2016 season, with four finishes of 20thor worse in the final 10 races of the season.
If Harvick get hot when it counts in 2017, the 2014 Cup champion will be a dangerous threat for the title in the playoffs.
Maintain driver-crew chief chemistry
Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers have one of the strongest relationships in the NASCAR Cup Series garage.
If anyone can adapt quickly to the Ford switch and start winning early, it’s this pair.
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