Kevin Harvick said it was “a good day” for his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team at Pocono, but a potential race-winning strategy came apart with cautions and restarts at the end.
“(We) had the right strategy, but I just didn’t time those last two restarts right — our car struggled a little bit getting the front to turn on the first lap or two. But (we) had everything in place,” Harvick explained. “If the caution doesn’t come out, I think we were in good shape (for a win). But that’s the way it goes – especially at this place. You have to have the cautions fall your way, and you have to have everything go right. A few little things here and there did not go our way, and we wound up sixth.
Harvick lined up fourth on the restart with four laps to go and fifth on the last one in overtime.
Fresh off his first win of the season in New Hampshire, Harvick kept the momentum rolling by grabbing the pole for the Gander RV 400 — his first at Pocono. He turned the starting position into a strong race performance, leading a race-high 62 laps and finishing top three in the first two stages.
When the race appeared to be turning into a fuel mileage run to the finish, Harvick’s No. 4 SHR Ford Mustang was in prime position to pressure the Joe Gibbs Racing cars into a mistake. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Erik Jones, all were saving fuel, and Harvick, who was quickly making up time, was unleashed to attack by a confident crew chief Rodney Childers.
A caution with eight laps to go, though, took away Harvick’s opportunity to win that way and set up the restarts he didn’t capitalize on.
“Everything is going good,” Harvick added. “We just have to keep improving and doing the things we’re doing.”