Kevin Harvick admitted he screwed up after speeding on his final pit stop at Kansas Speedway, which took away his shot at the victory.
Harvick, who won Stage 1, had led 76 laps before pulling down pit road with 53 laps to go. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was leading at the time and wound up finishing 12th.
“Today wasn’t great from my standpoint,” Harvick said. “Our Busch Lite Ford was really fast and leading the race there, and I got a speeding penalty. That was my fault. I tried to get a little too much and wound up going too fast.”
By earning ninth points by placing second in Stage 1, Harvick officially clinched his spot in the Round of 8 early Sunday afternoon. With the points reset, Harvick is second on the playoff grid with a 39-point advantage going into the next three races. Martinsville Speedway kicks off the semifinal round.
But Harvick has not won since August, despite having a strong car over the last six weeks. A dominating performance at Dover to start the Round of 12 with 286 laps led ended with Harvick falling back in the pack because of a loose wheel. He also led laps at Las Vegas and Richmond. In Talladega, Harvick and his four Stewart-Haas Racing teammates all took turns at the front, but Harvick ran out of fuel coming to the overtime restart.
In all, Harvick has led 462 laps. In the last six races, Harvick has three top-10 finishes. The 54 playoff points Harvick has accumulated has helped the No. 4 team’s efforts.
“We’ll take it one week at a time,” Harvick said of going forward. “We have had fast cars, and whether it is speeding on pit road or flat tires or valve stems or fuel, we haven’t put together a full day except for Richmond. Hopefully, we have gotten all that out of our system, and we can go to Martinsville and start off good.”
Harvick has victories at each of the three tracks, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix, in the Round of 8.