Kevin Harvick may have repeated his wins at Atlanta and Las Vegas, but his Stewart-Haas Racing team is working to keep the handling in his No. 4 Ford.
“We just lost the handling on our car in the second half of the race,” said Harvick. “That’s happened to us two weeks in a row.”
Harvick started from the pole Sunday afternoon and led a race-high 88 laps. He also won Stage 1. Although he was running third inside the final 30 laps, he could only get within a few car lengths of leaders Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. Kyle Busch overtook him for the third position with five laps to go, and Harvick crossed the finish line fourth.
“The guys have done a great job on our Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang,” Harvick continued. “The last two weeks we’ve just been way off to start practice based upon where everyone thought we should start, and just nowhere in the ballpark and just making huge changes to get into the ballpark, and they’ve done a great job getting the car close.
“After we get baseline stuff here hopefully we can start working on the details and not scrambling so much. But they’re doing a great job, and we knew that was going to be a possibility. Didn’t really know where we’d be, but we’ve qualified decent and had a good first half of the race two weeks in the row, but it just gets tighter as the race goes on and we can’t get that tightness out without taking the back (of the car) out of the track.”
Harvick won at Atlanta and Las Vegas last season. Last weekend in Atlanta Harvick also finished fourth after leading 45 laps and winning Stage 2.
Courtesy of his Las Vegas pole win, Harvick’s team chose the first pit stall near the exit of pit road. Typically considered the most valuable on pit road, the driver can just launch out of the box and across the timing line to hold a position.
On Sunday owever, Harvick appeared to have problems getting traction to launch out of the stall, although he later downplayed it.
“We kind of maintained and did what we had to do there and dealt with those issues,” Harvick said. “They did a great job on pit road.”
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to ISM Raceway this weekend, where Harvick also won last year.