Kevin Harvick needed to win on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway but instead had an untimely pit road issue that made sure he didn’t.
Harvick finished 10th in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. Last on the playoff grid going into the night, that is where Harvick remained when all was said and done.
“It just kind of goes with the whole year,” Harvick said. “Nothing has gone right, really. The wheels literally fell off tonight.”
It was indeed a wheel, the left front. Harvick came to pit road from inside the top five for his final stop of the night under the lap 437 caution and had to reverse back into his pit stall. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team had completed the stop, but the left front wheel came off when Harvick started to leave.
“They’ve done a good job,” Harvick said, “just bad timing.”
Harvick was 35 points below the cutline going into the first elimination race of the playoffs.
In the first two postseason races, Harvick failed to finish. At Darlington on Labor Day weekend, Harvick’s car caught on fire due to rubber buildup. He finished 33rd.
Harvick finished 36th at Kansas Speedway. Running inside the top 10, Harvick crashed after the car caught away from him when he had to check up because Ross Chastain and Bubba Wallace came up the track in front of him off Turn 4.
Two wins late in the regular season locked the 2014 series champion into the playoffs. It is the first time he’s been eliminated in the Round of 16.
“It was pretty tough,” Harvick said of Bristol. “We pitted in front of [Chris Buescher], but that’s just the way the year has gone.
“We went from having a chance to lead the parade to being a part of the parade, just difficult to pass. The cars are way too fast in the corners. You can’t race.”