A Look Back at NASCAR 2014: The Year of Kevin Harvick

The New Championship Format in NASCAR 2014

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has always been an exciting and unpredictable racing competition, where drivers compete for the Cup Championship title. However, the championship format changed in NASCAR 2014, and they introduced a unique and refreshing way of determining the winner of the Cup Championship.

NASCAR’s new championship format was designed to challenge drivers throughout the season and push them to do their best, and it did just that. The new format was called the “NASCAR Chase for the Cup,” which is a playoff-style elimination system that divided the season into three segments: the regular season, the Chase for the Cup, and the Championship race.

The regular season was made up of 26 races where drivers could accumulate points that would determine the top 16 drivers who would qualify for the playoffs. These 16 drivers would then enter the Chase for the Cup, where the competition would get even more intense.

The Chase was divided into four rounds, and each round had three races. At the end of each round, the four drivers with the fewest points would be eliminated, leaving the remaining drivers to compete in the next round. This format created a sense of urgency for the drivers, who knew they had to perform well in all three races to stay in the race for the championship.

The Championship race was the final race of the season and was the only race where the Championship title was decided. The four drivers who made it to the final round of the Chase had an equal chance of winning the championship. The driver who finished the race with the highest position would become the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion.

The new format ensured that all drivers had an equal opportunity to win the championship, regardless of how they performed during the regular season. The previous point system awarded drivers for their consistency throughout the season, which meant that the championship was often won by the most consistent driver, rather than the best driver. The new format put more emphasis on winning races, and the excitement and unpredictability of the playoffs reflected this.

The NASCAR Chase for the Cup was a huge success and gave fans a new way of experiencing NASCAR racing. The format put more pressure on the drivers, which led to more intense, exciting, and unpredictable racing. The new format proved to be popular with the fans, and it has become a permanent feature of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Kevin Harvick Joins Stewart-Haas Racing

One of the biggest changes in NASCAR 2014 was the move of Kevin Harvick from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick had spent his entire NASCAR career with RCR, but decided to make the switch to SHR for the 2014 season. This meant that he would be driving the #4 Chevrolet SS for the first time, and joining the likes of Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch at the team.

Harvick had a strong debut season with SHR, winning 5 races and finishing in the top 5 on 14 occasions. He made it all the way to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but ultimately finished in 2nd place in the standings behind fellow Chevy driver, Kevin Harvick. Harvick’s move to SHR was seen as a bold career move at the time, but it certainly paid off for the veteran driver.

Ryan Newman Moves to Richard Childress Racing

Ryan Newman was another driver who made a big move prior to the 2014 season, switching from SHR to Richard Childress Racing. Newman had spent four seasons with SHR, and had won 4 races during that time period. However, he was on the move after the team decided not to renew his contract for the upcoming season.

Newman joined RCR as the driver of the #31 Chevrolet SS, and had a solid debut season with the team. He picked up his first win with RCR at the Brickyard 400, held at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newman also secured his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, finishing a respectable 11th in the final standings.

Kyle Larson Debuts in the Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing

Kyle Larson was a highly-touted racing prospect who made his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2014 with Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson had previously competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and had garnered attention with his impressive performances in those series.

Larson’s rookie season in the Cup Series was a strong one, earning him the 2014 NASCAR Rookie of the Year award. He had eight top-5 finishes and 17 top-10 finishes, making him a driver to watch in future seasons. Larson’s success in NASCAR also earned him a spot in the 2014 Race of Champions, where he represented Team USA in a head-to-head competition against some of the world’s greatest drivers.

Overall, the 2014 NASCAR season was full of driver and team changes, many of which had a major impact on the sport. From Harvick’s move to SHR to Larson’s emergence as a rookie star, the season provided plenty of excitement and drama for fans to enjoy.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins the Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 is one of the most prestigious races in the NASCAR calendar, and in 2014, Dale Earnhardt Jr. added his name to the list of winners. It was a momentous occasion for Earnhardt Jr., who had been trying to win the Daytona 500 for over a decade.

He started the race from the fourth position and quickly made his way to the front of the pack. He led for a total of 54 laps throughout the race, including the final six laps to take the checkered flag. It was his second Super Speedway win in a year, and he was ecstatic to celebrate with his team and fans in Victory Lane.

Kevin Harvick’s First Cup Series Championship

Kevin Harvick had come close to winning the Cup Series Championship several times in the past, but in 2014, he finally achieved his dream. The season had its ups and downs for Harvick, with some great performances and also some frustrating setbacks.

He came into the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a chance to win the championship, but he faced stiff competition from Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, and Denny Hamlin. In the end, it was Harvick who prevailed, winning the race and securing his first Cup Series title.

Harvick was thrilled with the victory, and his celebrations were some of the most memorable of the season. He poured beer over his head in Victory Lane and even took a selfie with the championship trophy!

Jeff Gordon’s Retirement Announcement

2014 was also notable for being the year that Jeff Gordon announced his impending retirement from NASCAR. Gordon had been a fixture in the sport for over two decades and was widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time.

He made the announcement in January, shortly before the start of the season, and it was met with both sadness and respect from fans and fellow drivers alike. Although Gordon had struggled in recent years to win races and championships, he remained a beloved figure in the sport and was recognized with numerous accolades and tributes throughout the season.

The Emergence of Chase Elliott

One of the most exciting developments of the 2014 season was the emergence of Chase Elliott, a young driver who was making his debut in the Xfinity Series. Elliott was the son of former Cup Series champion Bill Elliott and had been making a name for himself in the lower ranks of NASCAR.

In just his sixth Xfinity Series race, Elliott scored his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway. He went on to win two more races that season and finished fifth in the championship standings.

Elliott’s impressive performances earned him a promotion to the Cup Series in 2015, and he has since become one of the sport’s brightest young stars.

Cars Become More Fuel-Efficient

2014 was also a year of innovation in NASCAR, as the sport introduced new rules aimed at making the cars more fuel-efficient. The changes included reducing the size of the fuel tank, which forced teams to make strategic decisions about when to pit and how much fuel to put in the car.

The new rules were met with some skepticism from fans and drivers, who worried that it would lead to more caution flags and unpredictable racing. However, the changes ultimately proved to be successful, and they have since become a standard part of NASCAR’s regulations.

Overall, the 2014 NASCAR season was a memorable one, with a mix of exciting races, surprising developments, and unforgettable moments. From Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 win to Kevin Harvick’s championship celebrations, it was a year that NASCAR fans will never forget.