Darlington Raceway 500
Late-Race Incident Leaves Harvick 17th at Darlington
A late-race incident cost Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team a top-five finish in Saturday night's SHOWTIME Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Despite leading 47 laps and earning an average running position of 4.4 during the race, Harvick ended up with a 17th-place result. The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet started the race from the 13th position and Harvick worked his way up to the top 10 before lap 15. From there, he remained inside the top 10 until the final laps of the race. Harvick was scored as the leader for the first time on lap 222 as the field came down pit road under caution for the team's fifth pit stop of the race. The Budweiser team made only minor air pressure adjustments during the race to aid the car's handling as the sun set and the track cooled off. Following the pit stop, Harvick restarted from the third position at lap 225, and moved back into the point position just 11 laps later.
He held the lead until the team pitted again at lap 281 and another car beat him off pit road. During the subsequent run, he radioed to the team that the Budweiser Chevrolet was too tight as he dropped back to third position. The No. 29 team made a green-flag stop at lap 330 for four tires and fuel and cycled back to third position once all the teams pitted. When the caution flag waved at lap 357, the No. 29 team made what they planned to be their last stop of the night two laps later, taking only right-side tires. Harvick restarted in the sixth position at lap 362. He and Kyle Busch in the No. 18 car made contact several times during the next lap.
Then, Harvick's RCR teammate Clint Bowyer got into the mix and the trio went three wide, resulting in contact that sent the No. 33 car spinning into the inside retaining wall. As the cars continued down the frontstretch, Busch hooked the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet in the right-rear quarter panel, sending Harvick spinning up in front of the rest of the field. The No. 29 team pitted twice under caution to make repairs to the Budweiser Chevrolet and Harvick restarted in the 18th position for the green-white-checkered finish. He was able to pick up one position before the checkered flag waved on lap 370 and finished 17th.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"Obviously, we were racing hard and doing what we had to do there at the end and things happen."