Kevin Harvick clinches regular-season championship at Dover

Kevin Harvick is the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champion, claiming the distinction just past the midway point of Stage 2 in Sunday’s Drydene 311 at Dover International Speedway — a race he went on to win.

Clinching the regular-season title hands Harvick a 15-point bonus heading into the 10-race NASCAR Playoffs, which begins Sept. 6 with the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The top-10 finishers in the regular-season standings receive bonus points on a sliding scale, starting with 15 for first and ending with one extra point for 10th.

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“With Denny (Hamlin) winning yesterday, we needed to win today and we need all the points we can get,” Harvick said after recording his seventh victory of 2020. “I think as you look at these playoffs you never know what to expect, but I know that as we go week to week we will give it all we have and I am just really proud.”

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Harvick has been consistently excellent throughout 2020. His lowest position in the points standings was third, which he held through the first three races before he jumped to the top spot. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has been first ever since.

With seven victories, paired with seven stages wins, Harvick already has 42 playoff points in the bank through Dover.

Kyle Busch earned the past two regular-season championships. Martin Truex Jr. scored the 2017 honor, the first year of inception. In two of the past three seasons, the regular-season champ has gone on to win the playoff title — Truex in 2017 and Busch in 2019.