Kevin Harvick needs to do what he’s done before at Phoenix

It’s déjà vu all over again for Kevin Harvick, who for the second time in three years will head to the Valley of the Sun needing to win or be eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Following his sixth-place finish in Sunday night’s rain-shortened AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Harvick finds himself sixth in points, 17 points out of fourth place going into next week’s Chase elimination race at Phoenix International Raceway.

It’s pretty much the same position Harvick was in at this time two years ago, when he had to win the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix and the final one at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim the title.

Harvick was successful in his quest in 2014, sweeping the final two races of the year to win his first Sprint Cup championship and the second for Stewart-Haas Racing to go along with Tony Stewart’s 2011 title.

And Harvick was successful last year at Dover International Speedway, where he faced elimination again and again pulled out a big victory with his back against the wall.

As if those successes weren’t enough, Harvick has won eight races at Phoenix, including five of the last six.

But he will be a prohibitive favorite to win on Sunday at Phoenix and lock himself into the finale.

As a result, Harvick didn’t sound too worried after the Texas race.

“We have done it I don’t know how many times… so we will just go there (Phoenix) and do what we always do and race as hard as we can,” he said.

As for Sunday night, Texas was a good race for Harvick, but not a great one.

“We were tight, we were loose, and we were kind of all over the place,” said Harvick. “We could take off okay, but we would fall way off at the end of a run.”

And that made for a frustrating race at Texas.

“All-in-all everybody battled and did all they could, and we just didn’t have a fast enough car,” said Harvick.

That’s not likely to be a problem at Phoenix.