Has Kevin Harvick (at age 43) Lost A Step?

Discussion in 'NASCAR chat' started by LewTheShoe, May 31, 2019.

  1. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    Newman is doing great/way above my expectation in the 6. Kurt is doing slightly above average expectations. I'd say Bowyer needs to step up.
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  2. Greg

    Greg 2014 RF YAHOO CHAMP Your leader

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  3. DaBiff1618

    DaBiff1618 Team Owner

    Bump :p
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  4. JJ_14

    JJ_14 Formerly Elliot_Fan_9

    Inb4 Has Kevin Harvick (at age 43) gained a step?
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  5. Greg

    Greg 2014 RF YAHOO CHAMP Your leader

    [insert them keyboard tears here]
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  6. Joker

    Joker #1 Harvick Fan

    The seven time champ fails to make the playoffs in a 16 man field while someone the same age curbstomped the field yesterday.

    Really activates the old almonds... :huh:
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  7. Nitro Dude

    Nitro Dude Hauler Driver and Cylinder Head Maintenance

    I would love to know if they switched cars would the results have been the same or entirely different.
  8. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    It's not cool to gloat that your guy's skills have declined less rapidly than another guy's skills. Father Time gets 'em all... not at precisely the same rate, but they all end up at the same place within a pretty short span of time.

    I don't understand why so many Nascar fans refuse to allow drivers to age gracefully, refuse to accept that physical skills in one's mid-40's are not what they were a decade earlier. To deny that decline is to deny that it's damned hard to race at the highest level.

    Also, what do you offer as a defense for Harvick's long history of under-performing in terms of winning the race when he has the fastest car?
  9. jaqua19

    jaqua19 Team Owner

    The irony of that is that the 7 time champion stole more of those races from Harvick than anyone.

    That said. Harv may be the guy to beat this year..that was a butt whooping.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
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  10. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    It's so confusing. I keep hearing from both Harvick and his fans how his terrible pit crew keeps losing races that Kevin has within his grasp. And Chase Elliott doesn't complain about his pit crew, but many of his fans do whenever he doesn't win. So what's a guy to think when NBC/SN provides actual data that shows the #9 crew is fastest of all through 27 races and the #4 crew is third fastest?

    Best 2019 Average Times For 4-Tire Pit Stops
    1. #9 Elliott = 14.134 seconds average
    2. #18 Kyle B = 14.208
    3. #4 Harvick = 14.374
    4. #88 Bowman = 14.411
    5. #20 Jones Boy = 14.448
    6. #2 Brad K = 14.499

    Thanks to the NBC/SN stat guy for clearing that up. It's very interesting data.
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  11. Switchback

    Switchback Team Owner

    Harvicks crew has been on it the 2nd half of this year and harvick has been complimentary of them all year. When exactly do you keep hearing harvick blame his put crew for losing races within his grasp?
  12. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    I like Lew as a poster & most if not all of his insight I tend to agree with so I'll come out and say that I'm surprised at some of your thoughts (along with David Smith's stuff, who I like) on Harvick based on the fact at where he's running versus his teammates.

    Or is Rodney Childers just that much better than Mike Bugarwciz (sp?), Billy Scott & Johnny Klausmaier?
  13. Team Penske

    Team Penske Team Owner

    ^ you said it and your right.
  14. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated. You probably think I'm ragging on Harvick, and maybe I am, for several objective reasons *plus* the fact I don't like the guy..:dual9mm: First, I have a subscription to Smith's information and analysis, but most of y'all don't, so it's interesting to share.

    Second, as stated in the OP, Smith was writing in three different articles about how Harvick has had great speed all year but has under-performed in converting that to race wins... not only this year but for his entire six-year tenure at SHR. He's out-performed his teammates, but has under-performed on numerous days when he was the fastest guy on the track. I think of Harvick as... fast driver/weaker on racecraft and execution. Smith's view of Childers is... builds and sets up fast cars/weaker on strategy and execution.

    Third, age 43 is no spring chicken for a driver at the top levels of racing. Smith wrote about that too. And I have long believed fans of veteran drivers often tend toward rose colored glasses concerning the aging of their favorites. I've seen many posts here and elsewhere predicting driver X will continue to win at historical rates into his fifties... because Mark Martin. That's silly, IMO. It's fanboi level silly. For predictive purposes, my overly simple rule of thumb is... peak performance to age ~42; after that a steep decline.

    Fourth, it pisses me off when drivers who don't win make up false excuses to deflect blame *and* the media laps that crap up like warm milk. See post #109 for my rant.

    Fifth, I don't like Kevin Harvick because he is a frequent dirty driver, a hypocrite, and a disingenuous low-life... but that's just me..:oops:
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  15. Joker

    Joker #1 Harvick Fan

    Harvick a dirty driver? Dude lmao what are you smoking? When's the last time he dumped someone for the win and they weren't named Kryle Busch? He wins by crushing the field, apparently three times this year being underperforming :rolleyes:
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  16. jaqua19

    jaqua19 Team Owner

    In his defense, there have been a handful of times he's been beat with the dominant car in the 4 car between 2014 and now.

    But the thing with that is that it's been WAY less frequent these last two years, and the only times I can remember him getting beat on multiple occasions with the dominant car was two or 3 times against Kyle Busch, and about 5 times against Jimmie Johnson from 2014-2016.

    In fact, the ONLY time I can recall Harvick getting beat with a dominant car is against Kyle Busch, and against Jimmie Johnson, who's won about 30 races in that fashion, so it's really no knock against Kevin getting beat by better drivers on a short run when their cars have fresh rubber.

    Anyone else, Harvs been able to close the deal.

    I was one of the firsts to bitch about Harvick not closing races, or getting beat at the end, but it's really only been against those two, who are all timers. Harv is a wheelman and will arguably go down as the 4th most accomplished driver of the 2000s.

    The guys a champ, a 2x brickyard 400 winner, Daytona 500 winner, Southern 500 winner, coke 600 winner.. All Star winner. He's proved it and earned a "pass" for getting beat with dominant cars by Busch and Johnson imo.

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  17. Truex_rox

    Truex_rox 19 looks better than ever.

    Not all that long ago, he turned Denny Hamlin at Bristol for no particular reason, and they weren't even battling for the lead. Then there's that infamous time at Talladega that your guy has been ragged on for on numerous occasions. I wouldn't flat out call him a dirty driver, but he has his moments.
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  18. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    Harvick thinks it's cute to park in people's pit stalls. I respect his talent, but he has some pathetic moments as a race car driver.
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  19. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    yep like Kurt he appears to be mellowing towards the end of his career.
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  20. be9ak7ts16

    be9ak7ts16 Johali Lives

    The big question is does he even care anymore.
  21. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    That narrative sounds so... tidy... but it's completely at odds with the facts shown by Nascar statistics and scoring loop data, for 2019 as well as the entire six years at SHR.

    Facts matter, and many are cited in this thread...:idunno:
  22. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    Not too worried about Harvick's performance this year. The whole organization admitted they went off on the wrong track with the car at the begging of the season and have been playing catch up. Loop data and other stats are a loose guide most of the time and produce a general idea not the whole story, but they are interesting. Lately SHR cars are much faster in comparison to the field, and Harvick has been leading laps and living in the top 5 the last few races.
  23. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    I haven't seen Martinsville data yet, but as we approach the climax of the 2019 season, just a quick update of Central Speed Ranking.

    Bottom line - the 4 car is really really fast. The 4 is fastest on average across the full year of 32 races. It's also fastest in the playoffs, looking just at those 6 races and ignoring the other 24 weeks. And on 1.5ers - such as where the championship finale will be contested - the 4 car is also fastest of all. Fans who are rooting for Kevin Harvick to hoist the championship trophy have a lot of ammo on their side.

    Full Year Rankings (32 races)
    of the 8 Championship Contenders:

    Car # 4 ... 5.94
    Car #18 ... 6.38
    Car #42 ... 8.19
    Car #19 ... 8.35
    Car #11 ... 8.73
    Car #22 ... 8.84
    Car # 9 ... 9.81
    Car #12 ... 10.91
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  24. jaqua19

    jaqua19 Team Owner

    Not sure where we are disagreeing? My point is that Harv, aside from a few rare occasions, gets it done.

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  25. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    Harvick has quietly been consistent but yet fast, almost in a sneaky way if you will? IMO at least.
  26. jaqua19

    jaqua19 Team Owner

    Link to this please. That'd be cool to see a whole dataset.

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  27. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    eh, we'll see this weekend at Texas if they have anything for them. They are below the cut line for the first time. They might have treated Martinsville like the mini Talladega it is and Texas is a better track to race it out on.
  28. Turtle84

    Turtle84 Vortex Shill

    Surprised at the gap from the 4 to the 19 and 11 considering their win totals and laps led.
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  29. Team Penske

    Team Penske Team Owner

    Fastest car usually isn't the winner. Pit road and pit crew play a big part.
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  30. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    Harvick has shown good consistency in churning out top-5's and top-10's this year, and also over his entire six-year span at SHR. But he has been below average at capturing THE WIN on days when he's had the fastest car... both this year and for his entire SHR career. Harvick's conversion rate on such days is 27% versus the cup series average of 40%... quite a gap sustained over a six-year period.

    Despite that below-average conversion rate, he's racked up an impressive number of wins... by virtue of having the fastest car in more races than any other driver. For six straight seasons, he's ranked first or second in average speed rank, according to David Smith (Motorsport Analytics & The Athletic)

    We are disagreeing on exactly that. I'm relying on straightforward non-controversial analysis of comprehensive data from Nascar electronic scoring published by a recognized authority, David Smith. You are relying on anecdotal observations that are subject to confirmation biases. Both are fine I suppose, but it's not surprising that they disagree..:idunno:

    BTW, sorry that I neglected to post links with my post yesterday. I've put them here, above.
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  31. gnomesayin

    gnomesayin Team Owner

    The central speed ranking is interesting to look over, and actual data can refute anecdotal and 'eye test' notions. I'm open to the possibility that the popular belief that Harvick is a sort of over-achiever who is often let down by his team or freak circumstances is a fallacy.

    However, I'm going to respectfully push back on the way this is framed:

    I think there is something missing from that summary when one doesn't consider the driver's role in consistently having the fastest cars. Equipment advantages are substantial, but this isn't F1. Developing and maintaining the fastest car on the track for many years obviously involves the driver as well, based on his ability, feedback, etc. Most drivers are open that the 2019 cars are less challenging to drive in and of themselves, but in years prior, there were only a handful of drivers who could deliver the fastest laps throughout races consistently.

    Perhaps the exact opposite of Harvick's "Closer" persona is true, in that he is the best recent driver in the series on pure speed, but converts that into race wins with less frequency than drivers who aren't as fast. That's intriguing. But he didn't rack up those speed numbers because the fastest cars were just dropped in his lap.
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  32. Switchback

    Switchback Team Owner

    I agree, there seems to be an assumption being made that any driver could have the same speed as any other if they traded cars. If that's actually true, my interest in this sport will drop to zero.
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  33. AndyMarquisLive

    AndyMarquisLive Short Track Fanatic

    One thing I've noticed is that, when drivers lose it, their drop off is seemingly sudden and noticeable.
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  34. jaqua19

    jaqua19 Team Owner

    I commend you for your critical thinking, this is a great post. There is something missing, like all advanced statistics in sports.. these stats are not gospel and cannot and do not paint the entire picture in regards to performance. They provide great insight to specific contexts related to performance but are no means the definitive way to measure performance. In terms of the scientific method, and hypothesis testing (in my own experience with it as well) this methodology is flawed.

    Statistics measure data for particular contexts which can reveal key information and facts so to speak, about performance, behavior etc. These contexts can be useful in looking at performance, but they don't provide THE truth. I roll my eyes when sports fans present them as such.

    Your final paragraph is interesting, and the point I previously was making is that there could be a variety of different reasons as to why Harvick wins with dominant cars less frequently than other drivers and if those numbers suggest he ISNT the closure, there could be other reasons not measured or taken into account that contribute to those numbers. What I said was that Harvick lost a handful of races to Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch from 2014-2016. Loosing a lot to those two guys, and fewer to other drivers doesn't mean Harvick isn't the closer. It just means these two guys have gotten the better of him enough to make that particular score statistically insignificant or flawed. Furthermore, it's hard to measure how much of an effect race to race driver variables such as what's between the ears, decision making, etc have on performance and passing statistics on a race to race basis for a driver.

    Pointing to the data to reach this conclusion about Harv may not be enough. So what I am saying here is if we are bringing advanced statistics into the sport, let's not just say "this is what the data says so..." Let's think critically about it. Which you have seemed to have done. Bravo

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  35. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    It seems that way with Johnson and Stewart for sure even though he had a good summer stretch in 2016. Gordon hung it up at the right time.
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  36. Greg

    Greg 2014 RF YAHOO CHAMP Your leader

    I guess Harvick is still my favorite, but stuff like that makes me cringe the most.
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  37. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    I wasn't a fan of him doing it to Dillon or Chastain. He may have had a point in both deals in his interviews. But I find it absolutely ridiculous he did it in those instances.

    Oh and his comments if anything have helped Ross's career lol.

    Kevin seems like the one guy that keeps Kyle in check tho. Maybe that's me.
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  38. Greg

    Greg 2014 RF YAHOO CHAMP Your leader

    Excellent post. Well said
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  39. StandOnIt

    StandOnIt Farm Truck

    Probably should have said f u Paw Paw stay in your motorhome instead. Turned out to be a very successful F U
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  40. LewTheShoe

    LewTheShoe Team Owner

    Excellent post, and I agree. In David Smith's world, a driver who excels at consistently turning fast laps makes his crew chief/team look good. That's not ideal.

    I said up above (post #214) that I regard Kevin Harvick as a very fast driver who is less stellar at racecraft and execution. And I also agree with David Smith's opinion that Rodney Childers builds and sets up very fast cars but is less stellar at strategy and execution. So Harvick and Childers are a formidable combination (with plenty of race wins to prove it)... but they leave a gap uncovered that results in below average conversion of dominant speed into race wins.

    Systematic data analysis can provide useful insight into what has happened, and often why, and sometimes what to expect going forward. It is especially valuable in countering biases coming from anecdotal observations... and there are several valid examples of that just within this thread. But the ultimate objective of measuring the worth of the driver versus the car or crew chief or other team members is exactly what you said... the driver's skill-based contribution to lap times.

    David Smith has his PEER analysis (Production in Equal Equipment Rating) but it has the same weakness, for the exact same reason. I've debated that with Smith, but the discussion is not really satisfying. So I read the PEER stuff with caution... there is insight there but also limitations. (This thread is not about PEER.)
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