Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Harvick “Happy to Finish the Race” at Talladega

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

With the carnage in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Kevin Harvick was just happy to finish unscathed. Harvick finished just inside the top-five in his No. 4 Busch Beer Flannel Ford Fusion.

Over the course of the last run, Harvick held course, following fellow Ford Performance drivers Joey Logano, Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch, and ahead of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. In a strategy seen repeatedly in recent years, nearly all of the Fords worked together to ensure that one would win. In the final laps, Harvick had to fend off a late charge from Chevrolet’s Chase Elliott. When the checkered flag waved, Logano was heading to victory lane, and Harvick finished fourth.

The race was unique for Talladega in recent years. Both handling and patience came into play as drivers, including Harvick fought loose conditions. In the first stage, an alternate pit strategy left him at the tail-end of a nine-car pack. Brad Keselowski, who lead the pack ran the high-line in the Tri-Oval to help Harvick’s loose condition.

“We had a really good Busch Ford,” Harvick said. “We got the handling a lot better there after the first run of the race when it was pushing really bad and loose in the corners and through the tri-oval. They did a good job adjusting the car. The 41 pulled out sooner than I thought he would there and we wound up getting hung out. All in all, it was a really good day. I am happy to finish the race. It is a good day for the guys. We can tweak on one finally rather than having to rebuild one.”

Harvick also had extra chatter on the team radio. During the pace laps, Busch had radio trouble and was forced to use Harvick’s alternate channel. This forced all of the team, spotter, and driver communication for Harvick on their primary channel.

The fourth-place finish is the seventh top-five finish of the 2018 season for Harvick, and the 175thof his career. It also moves him from fourth to third in the Championship Points Standings, 81-points behind leader Kyle Busch. Harvick is one of six drivers already locked into the Playoffs via wins.

Now Harvick and his Stewart-Haas team will try to carry their momentum to the “Monster Mile,” Dover International Speedway, for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism on May 6.

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Seth Eggert has followed NASCAR his entire life. Seth is currently pursuing a writing career and is majoring in Communications and Journalism. He is an avid iRacer and video gamer. Seth also tutors students at Mitchell Community College in multiple subjects. He has an Associate's Degree in History.