Throughout the night in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington, Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Chevrolet, sporting a Cale Yarborough throwback paint scheme, was a familiar sight at the front of the field, but a late race pit road miscue ended Harvick’s hopes for a second Darlington win.
Starting on pole after qualifying was cancelled due to Tropical Storm Hermine, Harvick took off in the lead like a bullet from a gun when the green flag dropped and was untouchable for the first 93 laps of the race. Though Harvick lost the lead to Brad Keselowski at lap 94, he was right back in the lead 45 laps later for another 111 laps out front to give him 204 laps led in the first 251 laps of the race.
Harvick would fall from the lead during the fifth and sixth cautions of the day, but cycled right back to the front at lap 273 for a nine lap stint in the lead. Subsequent cautions would allow other drivers to take over the lead as the laps continued to wind down, but Harvick battled right back to challenge Martin Truex, Jr. for the lead just prior to the final caution of the day at lap 350.
It was under that final caution that Harvick’s pit road troubles would rear their ugly head. While he was getting his car serviced, a lug nut gun malfunctioned, causing Harvick to lose multiple positions with just 16 laps to go.
Though Harvick was able to charge back to second place when the checkered flag flew, the frustration of having a Southern 500 win slip away on pit road boiled over for Harvick and he let it be known just how he felt after the race.
“It’s just the same old thing. You get in position where you bring a dominant car. The guys in the shop and the guys in the garage are doing a great job, and the guys on pit road are doing a terrible job. You get in a position to win races, and they continually step on their toes and don’t make it happen. You’re not going to win races like that. I’m really proud of the car that we brought tonight and the things that we’ve done on the race track, but you can only make so many excuses for pit road,” said Harvick.
“I’m over being a cheerleader. Those guys get paid a lot of money to perform on pit road, and cheerleading hasn’t really been working. You’ve got to get after it on pit road and do your job.”