MIAMI BEACH, Fla. â In most sports, a 3-on-1 break would be the peak of all power plays, a squash match in the making. Thatâs the on-paper scenario for Sundayâs Championship 4 finale, but for Kevin Harvick â the one vs. the Joe Gibbs Racing three â itâs not exactly a case of lopsided odds.
Harvick will carry the banner for both Ford and Stewart-Haas Racing in Sundayâs Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the title-deciding race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Heâll be vying for his second championship against a three-pronged JGR campaign of fellow veterans Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
In a simplistic manner of speaking, itâs advantage, JGR. But the dynamics of a winner-take-all finale among four drivers is more nuanced than that.
âWell, I think thatâs yet to be determined,â Harvick said during Thursdayâs Championship 4 Media Day at the Miami Beach Edition.Â âI think for us itâs very simple, thereâs no worries in making the sponsor mad or making another team member mad or ââ there is no scenario, itâs how do we get StewartâHaas Racing another championship, and all four teams have bought into that and want to do the exact same thing because of the fact that itâs good for StewartâHaas Racing.â
Sundayâs championship showdown stacks up as a clash of heavyweights with comparable credentials and achievements, both this season and in their careers. The four have combined to win 21 of the 35 races that came before Sundayâs finale, and their statistical reign over most major categories suggests some separation from the rest of the field, playoff bracket survival notwithstanding.
The four convened Thursday as near-equals on the center stage, with all but Hamlin making return trips to the final four. Only Hamlin was a relative newbie, jumping back into the pre-championship media rounds and hype for the first time since 2014.
MORE:Â Full Miami weekend schedule
As the lone SHR driver eligible for the crown, Harvick says he wonât have to play politics in the buildup to Sunday, but heâll also have the weight of the four-car organization behind his efforts. With three of its four teams in the final, JGR will have to continue to stretch its resources to give the trio its best hope of hoisting the trophy.
âI donât think the numbers exactly work that way,â Busch said of the notion of a JGR mismatch. âThereâs a double-edged sword about everything, right? So if youâve got 400 people working for you at Joe Gibbs Racing and itâs all 400 for one, itâs 400 for one, right? Well, now itâs 400 for three versus SHR, itâs 400 for one. So with people having to spread for all three cars, does that take away from just being able to put it all into one. I donât know. Weâll see. I think it could either be really, really good for us and reward us well, or it could be vice versa, so weâll see what happens.â
Then thereâs the purely numeric view, one espoused by Truex, who likes his organizationâs chances.
âStrength in numbers,â Truex said. âI think itâs a 75% chance that Cup comes back to JGR, which all the employees there deserve, which is huge. Selfishly I want it to be my team, so thatâs where I think all three of us are.â