Las Vegas postscript: No cruise for Harvick

Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team can put it on cruise control from here on out and we’re only three races into the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season but that’s not the last we will hear from that particular group.

The advent of playoff points for stage and race wins last year has forced teams to take a harder look at how they approach the remainder of the regular season after a win. There is no cruise, only crews.

It will be business as usual, in all likelihood, for the No. 4 going forward. Crew chief Rodney Childers wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Pennzoil 400 victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was nice, but now it’s on to Phoenix and Auto Club and Martinsville and Texas …

Playoff points aren’t the only incentive. Few things help a team continue to improve as much as winning and the momentum from that can’t be underestimated.

You learn a lot from losing, too – mainly that someone else is doing a better job than you. Or outworking you.

For the record, Harvick has now led 66 percent, or a similarly ridiculous number, of the laps run in his two wins at Atlanta and Las Vegas.

He now has 39 career wins, one shy of Mark Martin on the all-time win list. Kyle Busch, with 43 career victories, is next up the ladder.

o I’m not one to put too much into total wins “across all NASCAR national series.” Richard Petty has 200 premier series wins and when someone else reaches that mark …

It’s not that what guys such as Busch (184 total wins) and Harvick (100 wins) have done isn’t impressive. It is. I just don’t put it in the same category as what Petty accomplished in a single series.

o Two things I don’t believe we’ve heard the last of: problems with the NASCAR-issued pit guns and Jimmie Johnson’s struggles.

There were more instances Sunday of teams having problems with the pit guns provided by Paoli. I know the team owners are the ones who pushed for the change as a cost-saving measure but when air guns fail it is not the teams who look bad – or take the heat. It’s NASCAR.

This is one area that needs to be fixed. Not talked about, not investigated. It needs to be fixed.

As for Johnson, when the highlight of your day is finishing 12th, one lap down …

The No. 48 team used to be the one group that could turn things around almost at will. I’m not so sure that’s the case today. They’ll tell you otherwise and maybe they’re right, but …

The benefit of the Playoff format is that a single win by a team cures a regular season’s worth of ills. But as we saw last year, it doesn’t always guarantee success in the chase for the championship.

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