Rodney Childers apologized over the No. 4 team’s radio for not getting Kevin Harvick the win at Sonoma Raceway. But Harvick brushed it off, as his team finished second to Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing after being snookered on pit strategy.
Harvick replied that they “gave her hell. That’s all that matters. Always want to win, but stuff happens.”
Childers had Harvick come down pit road with 38 laps to go. Truex inherited the lead and pitted with 30 laps to go. He then caught Harvick from six seconds back to retake the lead and win the race.
Before this turn of events, Harvick and Truex had been on the same pit cycle and had traded the lead back and forth.
“I don’t really know what’s going on up on the pit box and who is doing what. I just do what I’m told,” said Harvick. “Those guys do a great job. You make some right ones, you make some bad ones, and sometimes you guess right, and sometimes you guess wrong. Who knows what is right or wrong.
“I thought that was a good call at the end to put tires on in case the caution came out. We got right back up to where we were running and put ourselves in position to have a chance in case the caution came out. I’m really proud of everyone on our Mobil 1 Ford. We had a really good weekend and came up one spot short.”
Childers knew his team might be in trouble, admitting the 78 faked them out and “kinda screwed us a little bit.”
After losing the lead, Harvick came back down pit road for fresh tires with less than 20 laps to go. He finished over 10 seconds behind Truex after leading 35 laps.
Overall, though, there were no hard feelings.
“What we did last time won us the race, but when we got done with the race we didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do,” Childers told reporters at Sonoma, including ESPN’s Bob Pockrass. “We kind of told ourselves going into the race that we’re going to do it differently … and I don’t know.
“We just needed to worry about ourselves and not worry about what other people are doing.”