Bad luck finally caught up with Kevin Harvick early in the Coca-Cola 600.
As he’s been doing all season, Harvick put on a clinic in the opening stage at Charlotte Motor Speedway, flying through the field and inside the top five after starting in the rear. But his tire went down on lap 83, stopping him from potentially contending for a sixth win.
Assessing the damage in the garage with his Mobil 1 team, Harvick — who said he had no warning that something was going wrong — was unsure if he ran over something or if it was another variable that ended his night.
“The car was really, really fast. We came all the way through the pack and made it up into the top three there, and sometimes those things happen,” he said after being released from the care center. “I can’t complain about anything that’s happened this year. We have to take the good with the bad.
“The guys did a great job in basically guessing at where the car needed to be today with all the penalties, no practice and starting in the back. To come out and have the fastest car again was quite an honor to drive, and they’re doing a great job. It was just bad luck.”
Inspection issues kept Harvick from making a qualifying lap Thursday evening, putting him 39th on the grid. Saturday, teams only received 50 minutes of practice and Harvick lost 30 minutes of that session as he served a penalty for his car failing inspection three times.
Victories at Dover International Speedway and Kansas Speedway had Harvick looking to win another set of three straight, which he had done earlier this season (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix). Last weekend’s All-Star Race rewarded him handsomely with $1 million but does not count in the official record books.
Sunday’s accident occurred before the end of stage one, meaning Harvick will not score any additional stage points Sunday. He could also finish last.
Asked if it was only a matter of time before he found his way to the lead in the race, Harvick said traffic was tough.
“Getting through traffic you had to really pick and choose your lanes, but our car could go in multiple lanes, and we were able to really make ground the second half of those runs,” he said. “So it was fun to come up through there.”