By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
A week after Kyle Busch completed the cycle by winning at every track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit, Kevin Harvick looked to be in good shape to knock another track off of his winless list, but it was not to be for the five-time winner in 2018 as he finished fourth at Pocono after leading the most laps.
“We just lost our track position of being in the lead and lost control of the race,” said Harvick. “That is what did us in there. We restarted second and then third and lost a spot on each restart as you start on the inside. Our Busch Ford was really fast and the guys did a really great job.
“You win some, you lose some. When you’re racing against guys like that, it’s going to come down to splitting hairs and the 78 and 18 were both really good today and it was a lot of fun racing with them.”
Entering Sunday’s race, Harvick had two tracks that he had yet to win at, Pocono and Kentucky, having finished as the runner-up in both races at Pocono last season and qualifying on the front row for the 160-lap event.
Harvick made his way to the lead by passing polesitter Ryan Blaney just 12 laps into the race and held serve out front until lap 25, when he brought his Ford down pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop. 10 laps later, he cycled back to the lead and would stay there until lap 43, giving up the lead to Martin Truex, Jr., who went on to win the first stage. Harvick would finish the stage in second place.
After gaining four fresh tires during the stage break, Harvick raced out to the lead on the ensuing restart, placing himself in a familiar position for 66 of the next 70 laps, only giving up the lead for green flag pit stops as he scored the second stage win.
However, when the yellow flag flew at lap 126, things began to go off the rails for the No. 4 team and they were never able to get themselves back to the front of the field. Harvick came out second off of pit road under that caution, eventually falling back to third by the time the next caution fell at lap 140.
Electing to stay out on older tires while the majority of the leaders pitted, Harvick was among a few teams that would be trying to hold out to the end of the race on the tires they had. Though he put up a valiant effort, he would fall back to fourth place over the closing laps and that’s where he would stay until the checkered flag flew.
With Sunday’s finish, Harvick now has six top-five finishes in his last eight starts at Pocono.