In a season where bad luck has hovered like his own personal black cloud, the last thing Kevin Harvick needs is a witch doctor casting spells on him.
That, however was the scenario Harvick encountered last week at Dover International Speedway, as a women holding a monkey skull emblazoned with his car number (along with Brad Keselowski's) was seen in the garage Sunday.
"Last week, we had a Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. fan with a monkey skull with some sort of witchcraft standing behind our car," Harvick told reporters Wednesday. "There's some weird things happening. The skull had a 2 and a 4 on it so I guess that was meant for myself and (Brad) Keselowski.
"I don't know that she'll be able to show up for every race."
Whatever spell was cast by the mysterious woman apparently worked, as a broken valve stem caused a flat tire and eradicated what had been a dominant effort. Harvick led 223 laps at Dover and was comfortable leading when the failure occurred. The same issue also occurred in the June Dover race with Harvick again in contention.
Bad luck has been a recurring theme throughout the season. Although he has led more laps than anyone, Harvick has just two victories on the year with five runner-up finishes.
More often than not the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has had the fastest car only for continued mistakes on pit road or other mechanical failures to occur. A broken wheel sent him to the garage early as Harvick was running in the top-five at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While the No. 4 was out front a ruptured oil line led to a fiery exit at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Prior to the Chase for the Sprint Cup, defending series champion Jimmie Johnson estimated Harvick should have upwards of eight wins. And Jeff Gordon, who went on to win last Sunday at Dover, acknowledged Harvick consistently has had the best car.
"Kevin (and that team) are extremely fast, but putting the whole race together, you can see that they have some things to work on there," Gordon said. "But they figure that out, I don't know anybody that can beat them. They're just that fast. Every weekend they have been."
Through it all Harvick has tried to remain positive. He continually points out that eventually his luck will turn, and despite the repeated misfortune is still considered one of the favorites to win the championship.
"I've been a part of this before where you think that the waking dogs are against you," Harvick said. "Then, the next thing you know, you can't do anything wrong and you're winning races and doing things that you feel like you probably should've done on that particular day. It all comes full circle in this sport.
"We know the capability is there to win every week on any style racetrack, you just have to have those circumstances go right. Now, I'm not going tell you that at the beginning of the year we didn't make a lot of mistakes and we didn't have car failures, but we haven't had that at the end of the year. We just hadn't been on the right side of the circumstance train to capitalize on some of the days that we've had."