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Harvick opens final season with RCR with a victory

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2013 at 11:31 am •  Published: February 17, 2013

Harvick, who has 19 career Cup victories at RCR, has never finished higher than third in the final standings. He's made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship the last three seasons, and six times in the nine years since it debuted in 2004.

That inconsistency and inability to win a Cup title in his 12 seasons has been frustrating for Harvick, and led to a revolving door of crew chiefs on the No. 29 the last several years. As Harvick went winless through the first 34 points races last year, it made sense to look around even though his contract ran through 2013.

He settled on a move to SHR, where he will drive for good friend Tony Stewart and get a chance to see if a fresh start will push him to the top of the series.

In the meantime, RCR in October hired Eric Warren to fill the director of competition role left vacant since Scott Miller went to Michael Waltrip Racing near the end of 2011. Warren's addition has helped RCR get back on track in areas the organization had fallen behind, and has contributed to the Zen attitude on the 29 team.

"We went and hired these psychiatrists to tell us what we need to do, now we call them engineers," Harvick joked of the behind-the-scenes changes at RCR.

"Eric and all the crew chiefs, the engineering staff, the amount of effort that Richard has poured in from a financial standpoint to a people standpoint, getting organized, there's a lot of effort making sure the cars are prepared better. There's a lot more structure and engineering that goes into these cars nowadays than what there used to be. Today when we were struggling with our car, there's people with notebooks and iPads, computers. They're standing around talking about what everybody else has on their cars.

"It's pretty fun to see, see them all put everything together to try to fix a problem."

And it's got Harvick determined to close his tenure at RCR on a high note.

"Pride also comes in there pretty good," he said. "It's fun to prove people wrong."