After more pit road miscues at Charlotte, Harvick turns his sights to the Monster Mile
Kevin Harvick had the best car at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend.
But in racing, the best car doesn’t always win.
Inconsistency and mechanical failures have plagued the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy this season – and last Sunday night was no exception. Although a lot of drivers would be thrilled with second place, considering that Harvick hasn’t finished on the lead lap in one-third of the races this season, it’s understandable why he was a little bit hot after the Coca-Cola 600.
“Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and all these guys are doing a great job,” Harvick said. “We're just shooting ourselves in the foot on pit road. We have to clean that up, because we obviously can't win races with the fastest car if we make mistakes continuously on pit road.
“It's frustrating, but everyone on this team has done a great job."
Harvick rolled off 11th on Sunday but quickly recovered and took the lead on Lap 75. The No. 4 would remain at the point until Lap 150, when eventual winner Jimmie Johnson gained the lead out of the pits.
Harvick remained competitive. He led another 25 laps but reported a vibration with a possible loose wheel during the fifth caution (Laps 236-241). He restarted third, but four laps into the green-flag run, Harvick radioed to the team, “We’re in trouble, guys”.
Harvick held on until Lap 263, when he was forced to pit. The four-tire stop dropped Harvick off the lead lap. After Kurt Busch’s engine expired on Lap 273, Harvick, who had worked his way back to 15th, received the lucky dog with 118 circuits remaining in the event.
On Thursday, Harvick didn’t make excuses for his constructive criticism.
“I’ll criticize myself,” Harvick told the hosts on SiriusXM/NASCAR Radio’s Morning Drive. “We’re all professionals. We all have jobs to do and we have to do them at the highest caliber that we’re expected to do them at. It’s not anything personal. It’s just we have to make everything better. If the parts are falling off the car, we have to make the parts better. If the driver is screwing up, we have to make the driver better.
“It’s just one of those things that we have to work through right now. They do a good job. It’s just a matter of them doing it consistently when the money is on the line.”
Harvick is currently 12th in the point standings. With victories at Phoenix and Darlington, he’s a lock for the Chase. But to win the Sprint Cup, the No. 4 will need to exorcise it’s demons before the playoffs begin – particularly now, with Johnson ending his losing streak and coming to Dover, where the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team has eight wins in 24 starts at the Monster Mile.
But Harvick moved on from his setback at Bristol and by Thursday he was over the Charlotte incident, too. At 38, Harvick is learning to take his disappointments in stride.
“I’ve gotten better at it, I think,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t yell at anybody”.