Kevin Harvick came up short again in his quest for his third Sprint Cup Series victory of the season.
But it was a shocker he was still in position for the win late in the race.
Harvick was penalized for speeding on pit road and was involved in a 13-car accident but still managed to be the only driver with a chance to run down eventual winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the finish of Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.
“Well, I think today was very important,” Harvick said. “We didn’t have the car that we wanted; I felt like we had a top-three car. We were going to need track position, and things were not really going well.
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“They were able to fix the car after we wrecked it. So that’s what we’ve talked about, is just scrambling, being able to scramble and get a finish of some sort to get something out of a day.”
That type of rebound is what Harvick hopes his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team can carry into the Chase.
“That’s what you’re going to have to do the last 10 weeks,” he said, “and today we were able to accomplish that and hopefully this is a good sign of things to come.”
Harvick was one of three drivers – Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin the others – attempting to stretch his fuel to the finish without making an extra pit stop.
A caution on Lap 154 of 160 after Kurt Busch hit the wall helped ensure Harvick’s Chevrolet would have enough.
On the restart on Lap 158, Harvick lined up second alongside Earnhardt and made a desperate attempt to get around him through Turn 1, but Earnhardt was able to power ahead and remained out front the rest of the way.
“It wasn’t exactly how you would lay it out on a piece of paper, for sure,” Harvick said. “We had a really fast car in clean air, a really loose car in traffic, and then we kind of got behind when I got the speeding penalty.
“The car wasn’t obviously quite as good after we wrecked it, but still they did a great job fixing it.”