By David Morgan, Associate Editor
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Kevin Harvick’s runner-up result in Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was nullified by disqualification in the hours after the finish, erasing a season-best result for the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team.
After crossing the line 0.012 seconds behind Ryan Blaney, Harvick’s car was wheeled into post-race inspection, where issues with the fasteners on his windshield were discovered.
NASCAR announced that the team had violated rule 188.8.131.52.F, which reads that the windshield fasteners must remain secure for the duration of the event.
Prior to the announcement of the disqualification, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion was all smiles, having completed his final superspeedway race and scored a runner-up finish to boot.
He appeared to be in the catbird seat in the final run to the finish, but on the backstretch on the last lap, Blaney made a cross-over move on him to take over the low lane, leaving Harvick and rookie Riley Herbst in the outside lane to try and battle back.
Harvick got a good push from Herbst for the final run to the finish, but it wasn’t quite enough to surpass Blaney by the time they reached the finish line, as he’d come up inches short.
“I thought I was in a really good spot headed down the back straightaway with everything that was happening,” Harvick said. “Because I knew I could get off the tri-oval with Riley right on my bumper, I was still gonna be OK and then he got spun in the middle of the tri-oval, so I’ve just got to thank everybody on our Busch Light Ford. They did a great job.
“Right about there I said, ‘Man, we’re sailing. The spotter is yelling at me to side draft. I’m like, ‘We aren’t gonna need to sidedraft, and then Riley got loose and spun out and I’m like, ‘We’re all alone here with two of them below me.’ But it was a great day, a great way to end at Talladega. I always want to win, but it is what it is.
“Talladega has been so up-and-down through the years. We’ve had some great moments and some bad moments. The last superspeedway race and we went out with everything rolling, so that’s a good thing.”
Now with the disqualification, Harvick will drop to last in the finishing order, turning what appeared to be a great way to wrap up his superspeedway career into a bittersweet one.