Friday, September 22, 2023

Kevin Harvick Rides Long Stretch of Consistency to Cup Series Point Lead, And More Fun Post-Phoenix Stats

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 08: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards Ford, leads during the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 08, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

*Editor’s Note: All stats in this article courtesy of’s statistician Joseph Srigley.

Sure, Kevin Harvick came up just shy of his 10th-career victory at Phoenix Raceway in Sunday’s Fan Shield 500, but in finishing second, Harvick kept an impressive streak intact.

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Harvick has now finished inside the top-10 in nine-straight NASCAR Cup Series points-paying events dating back to last year’s Playoff race at Kansas in October. That is incredible consistency, but just how consistent is it?

When you take a look at the current active top-10 streaks in the series, you realize just how next-level Harvick’s consistency has been.

Current NASCAR Cup Series Active top-10 streaks

    1. 1. Kevin Harvick – 9 races
    1. 2. Aric Almirola – 2 races
    1. Kurt Busch – 2 races
    1. Kyle Busch – 2 races
    1. Chase Elliott – 2 races
    1. 6. Clint Bowyer – 1 race
    1. William Byron – 1 race
    1. Cole Custer – 1 race
    1. Kyle Larson – 1 race
    1. Joey Logano – 1 race

That’s right, the highest active top-10 finishing streak, outside of Harvick’s, is only at two races.

Pretty obvious how Harvick has risen to the Cup Series point lead, despite not winning a race yet in the 2020 campaign.

Additionally, Harvick’s runner-up finish in Phoenix, also signals that he is zeroing in on career win No. 50. This is a historic mark that only 13 other drivers in NASCAR Cup Series history have achieved.

How about some more fun stats in the wake of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix?

Only Three Drivers Have Completed Every Lap in 2020

Okay, obviously, Harvick has finished inside the top-10 in every race this season. Thus, he has finished every lap in the four races so far this season, but he’s not alone.

Two other drivers have also surprisingly accomplished the feat as well: Denny Hamlin and Chris Buescher.

Of course, Hamlin is a perennial championship contender, but he suffered big damage in an early crash on Sunday with Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. Hamlin though, was somehow able to rebound for a 20th-place lead-lap finish.

Buescher likewise had an issue and slammed the wall on Sunday, but he too was able to get a lead lap finish to keep his streak alive.

Kyle Larson Loves Phoenix, Apparently

Kyle Larson, who drives the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing, had a solid day on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. After a tough opening Stage of the race, Larson battled back for an impressive fourth-place finish.

But did you know: This marks his fourth-consecutive top-six finish at the one-mile oval in Arizona?

Larson’s last four finishes in Phoenix are: 4th, 4th, 3rd and 6th.

I’m lovin’ it.

Tyler Reddick Was Fast

Although Tyler Reddick was ultimately credited with a 33rd-place finish, he was one of the eye-opening stories of the race. The rookie, who started 29th, had worked his way as high as second during the race and looked to have a shot at a top-five — or even a possible win.

Then, a tire cut and he went hard into the wall, ending his day.

However, before the tire let go, Reddick recorded the fastest lap on the track for 39 lap times in the race. Only Chase Elliott (60) and Kevin Harvick (57) had more on the day.

Stewart-Haas’ Big Day

All four Stewart-Haas Racing cars finished inside the top-10 on Sunday. Harvick was second, Clint Bowyer was fifth, Aric Almirola was eighth and Cole Custer was ninth.

This is the first time since Texas in the spring of 2019 (34 races ago), that all four SHR cars have recorded a top-10 in the same race.

Hard to believe, but it’s true.

Chris Buescher Notches Top-20’s in His Sleep

It wasn’t the smoothest of days for Chris Buescher, as he slammed the wall on lap 277. However, Buescher would still find a way to pilot the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang into the 17th position by the time the checkered flag flew.

Buescher has become a rock-steady machine of consistency driving for JTG Daugherty Racing in 2019 and RFR in 2020.

Sunday marked his fourth top-20 finish (in four races) for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, and it was his 10th-consecutive top-20 finish, overall. The last time Buescher finished outside the top-20 was at Dover last fall, when he blew an engine and finished 36th.

Additionally, Buescher has finished inside the top-20 in 27 of his last 29 NASCAR Cup Series starts.

Bubba Wallace Mimicking Buescher?

Did you have Bubba Wallace scoring three top-20 finishes in the first four races of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season? If so, you’re a much better prognosticator than me.

Wallace’s latest decent run was a 19th-place performance at Phoenix on Sunday, and he now sits 18th in the championship standings, just three points outside the top-16. Not a bad start, especially when you factor in his 2019 season.

Not only did Wallace fail to score a top-20 in the first four races of 2019, he only scored three top-20 finishes in the entire first-half of last season. Needless to say a much more consistent No. 43 car has been a breath of fresh air this year.

Daniel Suarez and Gaunt Finally Finding Stability

It has been a trying season so far for Daniel Suarez and Gaunt Brothers Racing.

They missed the show at Daytona, and then the following week at Las Vegas, they stuttered on the initial start of the race when their No. 96 car shut down.

However, after the nightmare opening two races of 2020, the driver and team have settled down and decent results are starting to pile on.

This week, Suarez came home on the lead lap in 21st. Not only is this the best finish for GBR in 2020, but it marks the best finish that the team has ever had on a track not named Daytona or Talladega.

John Hunter Nemechek Finishes Top-25 Again

Since moving to Front Row Motorsports in the final three races of 2019, John Hunter Nemechek has recorded six top-25 finishes in his seven starts.

Sure, top-25 doesn’t sound like a huge deal on the surface, but since Nemechek joined the team, seven races ago, the rest of the FRM organization has combined for just four top-25 finishes. He is certainly carrying the banner for the team, and he has an outside shot of winning the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year title.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is an award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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