Another dominant run, another missed opportunity to score a win. That was the story for Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.
Starting from the pole after a blistering-fast qualifying lap on Friday, Harvick wasted no time opening up the lead in Sunday’s race.
On the final stops of the day, Harvick and his No. 4 team opted for two tires, while eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson took four tires. Harvick reported a vibration prior to the stop and when the vibration persisted after the stop, Harvick told the team they should have taken four tires instead. Yet by taking the two tires, Harvick was able to gain valuable track position on the No. 48.
When the stops cycled through with 10 laps to go, Johnson was out front with Harvick chasing in second. While he could close the gap to nearly a second, he had nothing for Johnson, who earned his first career win at Michigan and third victory of the season.
Harvick led a race-high 63 of the 200 laps on Sunday, but when the checkered flag flew, the driver of the No. 4 was forced to settle with second.
This was the third straight runner-up finish at Michigan for Harvick, and his third second-place finish in the last five races.
"I mean, the car was fast, just wound up on the wrong side of all the strategy," Harvick said after the race. "We finished second, and that’s it."
After the race, crew chief Rodney Childers took responsibility for the second-place run, saying on his Twitter account they were simply beat on strategy.
I made a mistake not pitting earlier in the race that ended up costing us the race. @KevinHarvick and the guys did a great job all day..