By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Since his last win in the NASCAR Cup Series back in September 2020, Kevin Harvick has had a handful of chances to break his winless streak only to fall short and Sunday’s race at Richmond Raceway was another one of those occasions.
After starting the day in seventh place, Harvick was a constant fixture in the top-10 throughout the 400-lap duration of the Toyota Owners 400. Harvick would pilot his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing to a 10th place finish in the first stage and a seventh-place result in the second stage.
With 10 laps to go, Harvick ran in fifth-place following closely behind Denny Hamlin, but with the leaders mired in lapped traffic, it was still anyone’s guess who would cross the finish line first, especially with Harvick and Hamlin on fresher tires than the leaders.
Hamlin would climb to the lead with five laps remaining, with Harvick advancing up to second-place a lap later and setting his sights on Hamlin and the chance to break his winless streak.
Closing to within a car length of Hamlin’s rear bumper, Harvick just couldn’t get close enough to make a move on the last lap, having to instead settle for a runner-up finish.
Despite falling short of the victory, Harvick noted afterwards he was still happy with the momentum building finish, even though he would have liked the opportunity to take a swing at Hamlin for the lead and the win.
“I’m just really proud of everyone on our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for just staying in there and having a great strategy and doing everything that they did all day,” Harvick said. “It was really the first clean day that we’ve had all year. The cars have been fast and had a shot there at the end.
“I wanted to be close enough with the white to just take a swipe at him, but the lapped cars kind of got in the way and I lost a little bit of ground. Still, it’s a great day for us and hopefully a little bit of momentum in a positive direction.”
Sunday’s finish gives Harvick his first top-five and third top-10 finish of the season, as well as his best finish since his second-place run at Bristol last September.
Harvick will now look to take the momentum from Richmond on to next week’s race at Martinsville before finishing off a three-race short track swing on the dirt at Bristol in two weeks.