Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick posted another top-five finish on Sunday evening, finishing second in the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway. The veteran driver turned in another strong performance but remained winless in 2021 after heading to Victory Lane nine times in 2020. However, he is taking it in stride.
The driver of the No. 4 SHR Ford Mustang met with the NASCAR media members on Sunday evening after another strong performance. He provided insight into some early struggles and how the team had to make adjustments throughout the race. He also explained that the team has performed well overall, but there are just some seasons where things don’t go right.
“I think we all just want to win. You never know how the year is going to start,” Harvick told media members. “I think we’ve done a good job with everything that we have except for a couple weeks where we had some bad luck with flat tires. But some years start out good and you go like gangbusters, and some years they don’t start out good and you have to figure it out. So that’s just part of the game. I’ve been around this for a long time, and you just keep grinding away, and hopefully, eventually, you pick it up, and if you don’t, you start over the next year.”
A mid-race uncontrolled tire penalty nearly disrupted Harvick’s day
The veteran driver ran near the front of the pack for much of the Buschy McBusch Race 400 after his team made some crucial adjustments. However, a penalty nearly ruined his chance for a top finish. His team was one of three that received uncontrolled tire penalties late in the race, sending him to the back of the field.
However, the number of late cautions helped Harvick work his way back through his fellow drivers. His crew chief also made the call to get some fresh tires on the No. 4 Ford Mustang. Harvick lined up for the final restart in the middle of the top 10, but he avoided an incident involving Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney and then worked his way through the pack in the bottom lane.
Brad Keselowski actually took second place on the final lap, but he slid up the track while Harvick maintained his line. The checkered flag waved with Kyle Busch notching his first win of the season, followed by Harvick and Keselowski.
“Yeah, you know, we were a little bit off at the beginning. The guys did a great job of adjusting our car and getting our car better throughout the day. Then we had a pit road penalty while we were running fourth there and had to go to the back, and luckily we had a couple cautions and Rodney made a couple great calls and put tires on the car a couple times and really put us on offense there at the end and were able to get a couple good restarts and come out with a good finish.
Harvick remains in the playoff picture
While he has yet to reach Victory Lane in 2021, Harvick is still firmly entrenched in the playoff picture. He has four top-five finishes in the first 11 races of the 2021 season, including a fourth-place outing at Talladega Superspeedway and second in Sunday’s race. Harvick has stacked points each week, resulting in the eighth spot in the points standings.
The only problem for Harvick is that 10 different drivers have won in the first 11 weeks of the season. There are only 16 that reach the playoffs — the regular-season points champion and 15 drivers with the most wins. Denny Hamlin has a stranglehold on the points standings, so Harvick will likely have to win a race in the coming weeks in order to reach the playoffs.
Harvick will have a prime opportunity to win when NASCAR heads to Darlington Raceway for Throwback Weekend. He won the first of two races at the Track Too Tough to Tame in 2020, finishing third overall in the second. Harvick has three wins at Darlington, as well as 11 total top-five finishes, in 26 starts.
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