Heading into last year’s Championship 4, one of the big storylines was that Ford had not one, but two drivers vying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. All year, the Ford’s were to have said to have an aerodynamic disadvantage. Toyota’s were the class of the field while the Ford’s were doing what they needed to do to and trying to maximize their efforts on slower tracks or restrictor plate tracks to get by.
They landed Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski in the final round. They said that they were taking a knife to a gun fight. That in turn led to how much of a disadvantage would they have in the 2018 season. Chevrolet brought out a completely new car and Toyota’s were returning with their dominant Camry. How would Ford compete with the same model that they struggled with in 2017?
Instead, they’ve dominated more in 2018 than most did in 2017. Ford drivers have led 5,497 of the 9,671 laps run in 2018, equating out to 58-percent. In terms of race wins, they’re reached victory lane 18 times, the most since winning 19 in 1997. They’ve got more wins this season than the past two combined. From 2009 through 2016, Ford had won eight or fewer races seven of the eight years.
This season, they have two cars once again competing for the championship, but this time, they’re the favorites.
Both Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano are the ones to beat. If they can win the title on Sunday in Homestead, it will be Ford’s first in NASCAR’s premiere series since 2004.
Logano has six top 10 finishes in his last seven on the season. Over the last four weeks, he’s led 463 laps. He had led 391 in the 31 races prior. Since the Bristol night race, Logano has nine top 10 finishes in 12 tries. He’s a legitimate favorite to win this year’s title.
So is Harvick though too. I think a lot of people have overlooked Harvick as of late. Heading into Texas two weeks ago, his last win on the season came on Aug. 12. That was 10 races ago. But, it’s not like he’s been “off” over the last 2+ months either.
Since his Michigan win, Harvick has scored nine top 10 finishes in 12 tries. He led 286 laps in Dover but was caught with a speeding penalty on his last stop. He’d finish sixth instead. A week later, he led 46 laps at Talladega only to run out of fuel coming to the final green flag of the race in overtime. A week after that he led 76 laps in Kansas only to have another pit road problem.
In Texas, his 177 laps led and a win sealed the deal and brought his mojo back. He swept both stages for his 17th and 18th stage wins of 2018. He’s now won four of the last five Stage 2’s.