I hesitate to post this topic at all, because it could all change quickly, maybe Sunday at Pocono. But what the hell... let's roll. David Smith has spent a lot of time in recent weeks writing about Kevin Harvick, first at Motorsports Analytics, and then for The Athletic. He has pointed out that Harvick's #4 has been the absolute fastest car at three points races plus the All Star Race. Smith's speed metric is termed Central Speed Ranking. He divides each race into quarters, and ranks cars by green flag lap times, after removing speed anomalies due to crash damage or mechanical problems. For the year as a whole, the #4 car has been the second fastest overall, behind Kyle Busch's #18, which also has been the absolute fastest at three individual races. For the record, the ten fastest cars in 2019 have been: Top-5: Busch, Harvick, Logano, Keselowski, C.Elliott. 6-10: Truex, Bowyer, Hamlin, Larson, Blaney. Smith also makes the point that Harvick's shortfall in results this year is primarily on the driver, not the crew chief (strategy) or the team (execution). In the five years since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, Harvick has always been at or near the top of the scale in passing stats... but for 2019 so far he ranks in the bottom 10 for position-adjusted passing efficiency. That's a dramatic change... if we accept 13 races as enough data to give a good reading. That is more meaningful than chucking your pit crew under the bus for a botched pit stop... which the #4 has had also. In one article, Smith makes pointed mention of Harvick's age, 43 years, tied with Jimmie Johnson as Nascar's graybeard. For comparison, the next in age are Newman 41, followed by Bowyer and Kurt Busch at 40. It is a significant difference, IMO. In another article, Smith talks about reviewing data traces and seeing that Harvick has a distinctive driving style... partially rolling out of the throttle when others lift completely... thus less time *off* the gas, more time with *partial* gas. Smith concludes that Harvick has been very successful that way, but the 2019 rules package has rendered that advantage moot because of the prevalence of WFO flat-foot driving. Both of those reasons... advancing age and driving style... are not gonna get any better. But maybe 13 races is too little to judge. Maybe the down cycle ends this week at Pocono. What do y'all think?