After two finishes outside the top-15 to finish out the first round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, Kevin Harvick turned things around as the second round started at Charlotte by winning two stages, leading the most laps, and finishing third in Sunday’s Bank of America 500.
Harvick kicked the weekend off with a strong qualifying effort to start the race in third place and he was able to find the lead for the first time just 52 laps in. He would then lead the final 42 laps of the first stage to score his fourth stage win of the season over Chase Elliott.
Though Kyle Busch took the lead from him on the ensuing restart, Harvick would get back by a short time later and once again led for the remainder of the second stage to add another stage win to his season tally.
The final stage wasn’t quite as fruitful for Harvick as he led until lap 225 and would only get the lead back for one additional lap for the remainder of the race.
He looked to be secure in second place as the laps wound down, but when Kyle Busch crashed for the third time with a handful of laps to go, the race was pushed to overtime and everyone was given one more shot at race leader Martin Truex, Jr.
The field came down pit road for service under the caution, but a slow pit stop dropped Harvick further back in the pack for the restart. Despite the bad track position, he was still able to claw his way back to the top-three by the time the checkered flag flew.
“That’s about about where we were gonna run, second or third,” said Harvick. “We just kind of lost a little bit of the track there as the VHT started to wear off in the second half of the race. But they did a great job all day. For the most part, we had good stops all day – just the timing of the bad one came at the end, but, for the most part, they did a great job. Everybody in the field had a bad stop at some point today, so it was a good day for our Jimmy John’s/Busch Ford, and everybody is doing a good job with the speed of the cars.”
With Sunday’s strong finish, Harvick can breathe a little easier heading to Talladega as he sits third in points and will carry in a 25 point advantage over the elimination cut-off.