This past weekend was the most difficult of the Double Duty weekends for Kevin Harvick in terms of total miles traveled. Harvick raced Saturday in Pikes Peak, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then raced Sunday at Pocono in Eastern Pennsylvania. Even though the Busch Series points leader had no practice at the 1.0-mile Pikes Peak oval, he had perhaps his most impressive performance of the year when he finished third. He finished ahead of his nearest rival in the points, Greg Biffle, and extended his lead over him to 163 points.
Relieved that the Busch race went so well, Harvick jumped on the jet for Allentown, PA, on Saturday night. Harvick got a good night's sleep and looked forward to starting sixth at Pocono which was a 13-spot improvement over his qualifying effort in June.
As the race got underway on Sunday, Harvick jumped up to fifth place while racing with Ken Schrader, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer. Harvick slipped to ninth by the time of the first round of pit stops because of a loose condition leaving the corners.
Harvick held his own in the top 10 for several laps and then the loose condition returned. He slipped to 18th position and misfortune struck when Harvick was caught a lap down to the leaders because the caution flag flew shortly after he pitted. Not long after that, however, Harvick was able to get his lap back when the caution flew again with 51 laps remaining and he beat the leader to the start-finish line.
The Goodwrench team brought him to the pits several more times to top off the fuel cell with 50 laps to go and less. He was relegated to 21st position, but he was able to climb up to 13th by lap 169, however, he slipped back again to 21st. He was able to secure one more spot before the checkered flag flew on lap 200.
"We battled a loose race car, on and off, the entire race," Harvick said. "We never could get the chassis where we needed it to be able to stay in the top 10. Pocono is a tough track. There isn't much that separates a top five car from a top 15 car and we never did get the car handling as well as we wanted. We stayed out of the wrecks and completed every lap so that's important. We didn't get hurt in the points too bad. We're looking forward to Indy next week."
Harvick slipped to ninth but he is just 31 points behind seventh place Earnhardt Jr. Harvick will make his first career appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 next Sunday on NBC.