By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Food City 500 was a lengthy race for many Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, but Kevin Harvick’s was longer than most. Harvick had to start last after crashing in practice and opting not to attempt qualifying. In the end, he managed to finish inside the top-10.
On the final restart, Harvick was inside the top-10, one of only 12 cars still on the lead lap. His No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion just didn’t have the speed his primary car had on Friday. Harvick had no options on the final restart, mired in the middle of those still in contention for the win. When the checkered flag waved, he found himself in seventh.
Harvick’s race started with an accident avoidance on lap three as a quarter of the field were involved in an accident. As the race started and stopped several times, restarts proved to be crucial. In one of several stack-ups on restarts, Harvick got rammed in the left rear, causing moderate damage. Although he continued without incident, it was evident he was stuck in the middle of the pack.
“We weren’t that good pretty much the whole time,” Harvick admitted. “Today we were worse, just really loose, especially taking off, but we stayed in there and fought all day. We had another bad pit stop there at the end and wound up seventh, but, all in all, considering all the circumstances I guess it was a pretty good weekend.”
The seventh-place finish was the sixth top-10 finish for Harvick this season. It also moves him up to the third position, 75-points behind Championship Points leader and race winner Kyle Busch. Harvick is already locked into the Playoffs with two wins (Las Vegas not counting after failing post-race tech), and 12-Playoff Points.
Now Harvick and his entire Stewart-Haas Racing team will look to rebound in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night on April 21.