Kevin Harvick praises the power of Roush Yates Engines

Photo by Alan Marler/Harold Hinson Photography

By Jerry Jordan, Editor
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In the battle for the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Championship, there has been speculation the Ford camp isn’t at full-power when it comes to running down the Chevrolets and Toyotas but Kevin Harvick made it clear after qualifying second at Kansas Speedway that their Roush Yates Engines aren’t lacking on horsepower.

“I don’t think that our engines have been off all year,” Harvick said. “I hear talk about it here and there but we’ve had shot at 10 or 12 poles this year and had four or five. Every time we go to qualify they always pick up a tenth-and-a-half to two-tenths from practice. It’s a constant evolution. Every engine department is a constant evolution of getting better. I know ours have evolved. I don’t think that we’ve been off from what I’ve felt.”

To make his point, Harvick said all anyone has to do is look at Stewart-Haas Racing’s performance since the beginning of the season. Sure, the organization switched from Chevrolet to Ford but despite the fear of falling behind with such a massive changeover, he said their engines haven’t been an issue.

“We started off winning the Daytona 500,” Harvick said. “Obviously, it didn’t go bad and we’re working constantly to get more competitive on the mile-and-a-half race tracks because that’s what it’s really going to take to win a championship.”

That is where the Toyotas have been strong and with five races left in the season, Harvick faces three 1.5-mile tracks beginning with Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway, where he has two wins. Harvick is currently fourth in the points, so barring disaster he will advance to the Round of 8 and tackle Texas Motor Speedway in two weeks. He said despite rebuilding and making extreme changes since the first of the season, he isn’t worried.

“I think as you look how the year has gone, when we went to Chicago there was a big step in the performance and it went from hoping that you could point your way in and not making any mistakes to legitimately feeling like you had a chance to win races and qualify on the pole and do all the things that you needed to do without depending on somebody else’s bad luck,” Harvick said. “Chicago, Dover, Charlotte, here so far, the cars have been really fast. It’s been a good evolution.”

In fact, it sounded as if Harvick was happily surprised with how he’s raced this season and how the team has been able to adapt to change, bring power to the track and stay up front to contend for a championship.

“I think going into the year you have to kind of write this year off with all the workload and all the things you do to get the cars to the race track,” he said. “The team came out and won the Daytona 500, led the most laps, led the most laps at Atlanta, on at Sonoma and put ourselves in position to race for a championship.

“The car have constantly got better. It’s hard for the production side of things to keep up with the R&D side of things. Luckily, this time of year it becomes a little more urgent to get it into place. And they’ve done a great job of putting things in place as they’ve gone through the year and sticking to a plan and the plan has probably changed 100 times because nothing is the same. Absolutely nothing is the same. As a company they’ve done a great job. We’ve got Ford and good owners that spend money to make up time. Because that’s the only way to make up time is to overspend and we’ve done that at times to get to a point where we are and feel like you can race for a championship.”

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