Kevin Harvick left Sonoma Raceway with a fourth-place finish Sunday afternoon, but he did so far from pleased.
“Our Gearwrench Ford Mustang was good,” Harvick said. “We had our minimum of once-a-week catastrophic failure on pit road and got back as far forward as we could, as usual. It is what it is, I guess. We didn’t finish where we should have.”
Harvick was running third and chasing Chris Buescher when the two dove to pit road for the final time with 30 laps to go. As the two were pitted next to each other, it was easy to see both teams keeping pace with each other until Harvick’s No. 4 team came around to the left side.
As Buescher peeled out, Harvick sat and sat. An issue with the left rear resulted in the team having to jack up the car a second time. Annoyed afterward, Harvick radioed that the crew look like “w*****s” on pit road every week.
The slow stop had Harvick running 14th when the final caution came out with 28 laps to go. When the field cycled through pit stops before the restart, Harvick was listed eighth.
To be in race-winning contention, Harvick said he needed “something that wasn’t a 20-second pit stop.”
In the final 10 laps, the team tried to keep the mood light. Running fourth, Harvick was told to keep his eyes on trying to get the third position because there was a “really good chance the third-place guy is going to win if it goes green with the two that are upfront here.”
Daniel Suarez and Chris Buescher never made a mistake, though. Harvick was also unable to catch Michael McDowell for third.
A drive back to fourth place, however, gave him his third top-five finish in the last five races. While the end result was disappointing, Sunday was one of the team’s strongest runs with a solid presence inside the top 10.
“We took away all of our chances,” Harvick lamented of the slow pit stop. “We should have been second at worst, but we keep screwing up every week.”