By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Although Kevin Harvick had the dominant car in the Hollywood Casino 400, a mistake on pit road cost him the chance at victory. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver won the second stage and was leading until he was busted for speeding on pit road.
Harvick had a comfortable lead in his No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion over eventual winner Chase Elliott. On lap 213, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and Elliott both elected to duck onto Kansas Speedway’s pit road. After returning to the track, Harvick was penalized for speeding in Section 4 of pit road. The result was a pass-thru penalty for the 2014 Premier Series Champion.
When Harvick returned to the track, he was running outside the top-15. In the caution-free run to the finish, he was only able to climb his way back up to finish 12th. Harvick had led 76 circuits, second only to fellow Ford Performance driver, and Stage 1 winner Joey Logano.
“Today wasn’t great from my standpoint,” Harvick admitted. “Our Busch Lite Ford was really fast and leading the race there and I got a speeding penalty. That was my fault. I tried to get a little too much and wound up going too fast. We will take it one week at a time. We have had fast cars and whether it is speeding on pit road or flat tires or valve stems or fuel, we haven’t put together a full day except for Richmond.
“Hopefully we have gotten all that out of our system and we can go to Martinsville and start off good.”
After the reseeding for the Round of Eight, Harvick is now just one point behind Championship Points Leader Kyle Busch. He is also 36-Points above the cutoff line for the Championship Four, held by Elliott. Three races, Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and the newly reconfigured ISM Raceway, now sit between Harvick and a chance at his second Championship in five years.
Kansas marks just the seventh race this season that Harvick has not finished inside the top-10.