By Michael Guzman, Contributing Writer
Homestead, FL – Kevin Harvick has been known as “The Closer” for quite a while, but when it came down to the final run of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver was unable to make up the ground he needed to catch eventual champion Martin Truex Jr.
“It was kind of up and down where you were against the championship guys,” a disappointed Harvick said following the race. “There at the end, we got a hole in the nose, had the tires equalize, all kinds of stuff happen right about dark.”
Harvick, who qualified ninth after getting loose in qualifying, finished the race fourth, 8.15 seconds behind the leader.
He started strong and contended with all of the other championship drivers as we was able to utilize the bottom of the track early. But as the sun set and the track cooled, Harvick faded behind the Toyotas of Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch.
Making matters worse, the 41-year-old had a hole punched in the right front corner of his car after running over debris while running in the fourth position. Despite a patch that was applied with 67 laps to, the veteran driver did not have the speed to contend as the laps counted down.
“We never got it back 100 percent right to really do what we needed to do, really at any point during the run. We were just kind of treading water there… Just really proud of everybody on my team, and they did a great job getting us to this point and having a chance, and gave it all we had right up until the end. Some points were good, some points were bad, and in the end it just wasn’t quite good enough.”