Kevin Harvick Needs To Capitalize On Martinsville Speedway Potential To Keep NASCAR Chase Hopes Alive

Martinsville Speedway isn't quite Kevin Harvick's last stand when it comes to the 2011 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.

But it's getting close.

After a wreck damaged his car at Talladega last week, Harvick slipped to fifth in the standings and is 26 points behind Chase leader Carl Edwards.

To win the Cup title this season, the Richard Childress Racing driver said he'll need to take advantage of his skill on the two best remaining tracks for his team.

"We need to capitalize here and we need to capitalize at Phoenix to make up some ground," Harvick said Friday at Martinsville. "Obviously, (the Roush Fenway Racing cars') mile-and-a-half stuff has been good, and ours has been fair. You just want to make (the deficit) smaller as you leave here. If we can do that, I'd say it would be a good weekend."

Harvick hopes the weather allow the drivers to practice today on the half-mile flat track – and not just because he wants to tune his car for the race.

If practice and qualifying were rained out, the drivers would line up by points – giving Edwards the top spot. And Harvick believes Edwards and Matt Kenseth (second in points) would not start up front if practice were to take place, because "I don't think this is their strong suit."

So is the No. 29 team capable of a comeback?

Harvick said the Chase was "a long ways from over" and added "anything can happen over the next few weeks."

"I look at three of those racetracks as really strong points for us, and I look at hopefully being on the offense as you move forward," he said.

A local TV reporter asked what would happen to Harvick's title chances if he wasn't able to make up any ground on Edwards in Sunday's race.

Harvick offered his trademark wry smile.

"It's going to become harder," he said.

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