Four for the No. 4 was not meant to be for Kevin Harvick at Auto Club Speedway, as his bid for a fourth consecutive win came to an early end.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver heavily damaged his Ford after contact racing Kyle Larson off Turn 2 on Lap 39. Harvick turned down on Larson with the No. 42 moving slightly to the right as the two hit the backstretch. While the contact was flush, Harvick then shot back toward the outside retaining wall, hitting hard with the right front and the rear.
“I went down to side draft, and he was coming up, and we touched, and it just knocked the thing to the right, just spun out,” said Harvick. “I don’t know that that’s his fault, I think that’s my fault for coming down the racetrack and trying to side draft, and as we touch right there, it just came back up the racetrack.
“Just trying to get a little too much right there, I knew the stage was coming to an end.”
Harvick fell two laps down as his team made repairs on pit road. With continued repairs throughout the afternoon, Harvick fell nine laps down and finished 35th. Larson suffered minimal damage and rebounded to finish second.
“We were racing really hard; I was better than him in [Turns] 3 and 4, he was better than me in [Turns] 1 and 2,” said Larson. “I’d side-draft him down the frontstretch, he’d side-draft me down the backstretch, and I don’t know if he was coming down to side-draft me or what, but we made contact and spun his car to the right. You never want to make contact with anybody, but all in all, it was a good day for our DC Solar team.
“We had a lot of weird issues, vibrations and different stuff that happened that we had to restart near the back and drive back forward and seemed like we could always get to third or fourth and kind of stall out there. But still, really good day.”