Kevin Harvick was best in class at Kansas Speedway in the Hollywood Casino 400 found a silver lining in his third-place finish.
“We closed a huge gap at 1.5-mile racetracks, and everyone is doing a great job,” Harvick said.
Harvick placed his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang behind Chevrolet winner Kyle Larson and Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott. But Harvick gave it his best shot toward grabbing that first win of the season off the final restart as he fought as hard as he could with Chevrolets around him. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.
LARSON VS. HARVICK!
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 24, 2021
The race restarted for the final time with 39 laps to go, and Larson shot to the lead. Harvick was on Larson’s bumper and nearly to his inside a few laps later but couldn’t complete the pass. With 13 laps to go, Harvick lost the runner-up spot when his car got tight off Turn 2 and forced him off the throttle, opening the door for Elliott.
“We were just getting tight at the end of the runs, and the 5 [Larson], 9 [Elliott], and 1 [Kurt Busch] cars could really hold it wide open,” Harvick said. “I needed to get past the 5, so I was trying to hold it wide open and had a lot of wheel into it and got a little tight as we went to the last half of that run. I’m really proud of everyone on the Subway Ford Mustang.”
Kansas was a bright spot for Harvick this season. His third-place effort Sunday followed a second-place result from the spring race.
Having finished fifth a week ago at the 1.5-miler in Texas, it was a second consecutive week of promise for Harvick’s team. Harvick bagged points in both stages at Kansas, and his average running position throughout 400 miles was fifth.
No longer eligible for the championship, Harvick is swinging upward as the year winds down.
“There is a lot to race for,” he said. “As you look at it, there’s only four guys that are going to be locked into the (top four in) points, we want to finish fifth in the points, and if we can’t win a race, that’s our goal.
“We’ve done a good job throughout the playoffs, and just keeping up with the Chevrolets, in general, is a kind of a gain for us. Everybody has done a good job. Our Subway Ford Mustang was way better than it has been the last two weeks, and we made up some ground.”