How did your Chaser fare in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400?
Pit road proved costly for several Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders at Kansas Speedway.
While none of the drivers are crew were attempting to gamble in the Hollywood Casino 400, miscues in the pits proved costly for drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. on Sunday.
I wouldn’t rather be going anywhere else than Talladega for the next race if we need a win
Confident Dale Earnhardt Jr.
For the second week in a row, Earnhardt’s progress was stalled by a loose left rear tire. During pit stops on the fourth caution, the No. 88 Chevy restarted 18th on Lap 160. After Earnhardt was up to speed, he warned his crew of a bad vibration with the car. On Lap 164, he came to pit road.
Loose wheels continue to plague Dale Jr.
“I was pretty sure we had an issue,” Earnhardt said. “We had a lot of wheels shaking, tires shaking because of the wheels spinning inside the tire. Every set we had today except for one didn’t shake. Every set shook, but it’s a completely different kind of thing when the wheel is not tight. We don’t know which one it was we came in so quick it didn’t beat up the wheel enough to give us a real indication of which one it was.
“I knew we needed to come down pit road. We had a fast car, just never really had good track position and got behind. We didn’t come here to run second or top five we don’t need that we need a win. We had to try to go out there and win and we just got behind.”
Earnhardt dropped to 27th, one lap down. He finished 21st and is currently 11th in the standings — 56 points behind leader Joey Logano — with next weekend’s race at Talladega to determine the eight drivers that transfer to the Eliminator Round.
Still, Earnhardt has tremendous confidence entering the 2.66-mile superspeedway where he won at in May.
“I wouldn’t rather be going anywhere else than Talladega for the next race if we need a win,” said Earnhardt, who has enjoyed an average finish of 1.66 at restrictor plate tracks this season.
“That is a good opportunity for us. Even over Daytona, I think we can go to Talladega and do the job. There is a little more room there to be aggressive and make the moves you need to make. I got the car. That car won the 125, ran third in the (Daytona) 500 and won Talladega and won Daytona. That is a good enough car. I wouldn’t want to be going anywhere else if it’s a win and you are in kind of deal.”
Money stop costs Harvick, Truex
A runaway tire on Truex’s Lap 212 pitstop forced the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy to serve a pass-thru penalty six circuits later. Truex, who qualified seventh and was running 10th when he pitted, dropped to 23rd — one lap down.
"It was tough day,” Truex said. “We were in good shape before the penalty. We fought hard on the car all day got much better right when we got the penalty. We were fast at the end, but not enough time to get back up there."
Truex recovered with a 15th-place finish but dropped five positions in the standings to eighth. He trails Logano by 25 points.
One lap after Truex’s faux pas, Harvick came on pit road while running in fourth-place. Harvick bolted out of the box prior to the gasman removing the gas can. NASCAR nailed the No. 4 Budweiser Chevy with a stop-and-go penalty, which Harvick served on Lap 217.
Harvick cycled out to 22nd, one lap down.
“We are lucky to come out of it as good as we did with our Budweiser/Jimmy John’s team,” Harvick said. “We didn’t have a great weekend. A lot of things falling on and off and now we’ve got to go to Talladega and have a good week. All-in-all it could have been a lot worse and everybody kept digging.”
Harvick finished 16th and dropped from second in the point standings to fifth. He’s currently 24 points behind Logano — along with Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski.