Winning a championship in any sport is difficult. It’s a title. It’s not supposed to be easy. In fact, the fight to the top of sports is one thing. The other is staying there.
In NASCAR, it’s as true as anywhere else. There’s only been three drivers to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series championships since 2004 — the first year of the playoffs. Prior to 2004, a title in NASCAR was won on an accumulation of points throughout an entire season.
Now, even more so since the new format was adopted in 2014, parity is king and staying on top has never been tougher.
“Winning a championship today isn’t how Earnhardt or Petty did it,” said Kevin Harvick to me on Thursday. “I think it’s a much different style of winning a championship than what it used to be.
“When you look at the point standings from this year, you see why the playoffs were put into effect in trying to make sure that we had an intriguing 10 weeks of racing as we went toward the end of the year.
“It’s very difficult to get yourself to the last race of the season and be one of those four cars and trying to be able to race for let alone win a championship.
“It’s very difficult to put yourself in that position and once you get there be able to put everything together against the other three guys on one particular day, especially when it’s been at the same race track (Homestead-Miami Speedway) every season that we’ve gone about it this way.”
Harvick, has won a series high seven races in 2020. No one has as many playoff points (57) as him either. So, while he can march to Phoenix for his sixth Championship 4 in seven years, it doesn’t guarantee a title like it would for a season that he’s having prior to 2004.
He’s searching for his second title though, his first in a Ford.