While Kevin Harvick led late at Kansas Speedway and wound up with a fourth-place finish, he felt his Stewart-Haas Racing team “didn’t have a very good night.”
The biggest issue with his No. 4 Ford Mustang was the balance. A few laps before losing the lead, and the win, to Denny Hamlin, Harvick reported he was “sideways.” His car wouldn’t turn in the corners and was sideways on the exits the longer the run went. The final green-flag run was 22 laps.
“We were just holding on and hoping for another restart because we could run for a couple of laps, but that was about it,” said Harvick.
Harvick made a great move going from third place on the inside lane to jumping to the outside of leader Alex Bowman on a restart with 22 laps to go. It was the first time Harvick had led all night, and he only held the top spot for nine laps. When Harvick got in clean air for the first time, Hamlin could see how he was battling his race car.
“I saw him get loose and I saw kind of blood in the water there, so we just ran him down,” said Hamlin.
With the win, Hamlin broke the tie with Harvick for most victories on the season. But Harvick continues to lead the overall point standings and be in control of the additional 15 playoff points should he win the regular-season championship.
Harvick, crew chief Rodney Childers and the rest of their group have torn through the Cup Series this year. Harvick’s average finish after 19 races is an incredible 6.5, and he leads the series in top-10 finishes (16), top-five finishes (12), laps led (700).
Kansas also extended Harvick’s top-five streak. In the last six races, Harvick has won twice and finished no worse than fifth.
“We needed a miracle,” said Harvick of grabbing another victory. “Our Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang was really loose. We got a couple of good restarts and had a couple of good laps, but we were in trouble there regardless if it didn’t just keep going yellow.
“Our guys did a good job keeping us in the fight all night, but we definitely have some work to do.”