Winner’s Weekend: Kevin Harvick – Atlanta

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Kevin Harvick and crew chief Richard Childers recap the strategy that brought them to victory lane in Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 in Atlanta

ANNOUNCER: It's the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, race number two of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Kevin Harvick led the most laps in the last four Atlanta races. Didn't win any of them.

KEVIN HARVICK: I think as you look at really the last five years that we've been here, we've had the dominant car. And not have been to victory lane is, for me, is a little bit embarrassing.

- Drivers! Start your engines!

KEVIN HARVICK: Got a really fast race car. Feel good about it today, and just gonna go out and see what happens and run the race.

RODNEY CHILDERS: All right, bud. Have some fun today. It weighs on you more and more each year. And you know, you feel like this is a place that Kevin's really good at. We've almost choked about this deal. They're saying that there was some kind of Atlanta curse.

TIM FEDEWA: All right, coming to green. Green flag.

RODNEY CHILDERS: Doing good, nice and smooth. Take care of your tires, here. I think we had that mentality at the start of the race, starting on those qualifying tires, that we need to take it easy for about six or seven laps.

ANNOUNCER: We learned a new word, Harvicking.

TONY HIRSCHMAN: Yeah, Harvick's chewing everybody up on the bottom.

JOEY MEIER: I mean, Harvick's not even driving. As soon as he passes the quarter-mile track, he lifts. It's ridiculous.

ANNOUNCER: It took Harvick 21 laps to get to the front.

KEVIN HARVICK: Had to be patient at the beginning of the race, and as the race track rubbered up, our car got good. We had a really fast Jimmy John's Ford.

ANNOUNCER: First stage win of 2018 for Kevin Harvick.

RODNEY CHILDERS: All right, we'll pit this time. Pit road's open. Four tires, here. Three, two, one. Right here. Are you ready? Go hard, go hard, go hard, go hard. Looks like the hose blew apart, oh my god. Most of the time, things don't go perfect the whole race.

KEVIN HARVICK: If we got an issue, we just need to come fix it. Obviously we had a pit gun failure, there, on pit road.

RODNEY CHILDERS: Make sure everything is tied on the right front. We did the right thing, with bringing it back down pit road and making sure that we had all the lug nuts tied.

TIM FEDEWA: Long way to go, here. We'll be fine.

ANNOUNCER: Kevin Harvick will restart 19th. He'll be the last car on the lead lap. Keselowski and Boyer on the front row, and we're back under green.

KEVIN HARVICK: We were in traffic. We had a little bit of trouble in traffic. But our strong point was from about lap 8 on, we could start making up ground.

ANNOUNCER: Look who's coming. And now, in seventh place after restarting 19th, comes Kevin Harvick.

TIM FEDEWA: One at a time, no pressure.

- Having that run go long, there, played into our advantage and letting him drive back up through there.

TIM FEDEWA: Got a spin on the back, back it off.

ANNOUNCER: Jimmy Johnson spins off turn two.

RODNEY CHILDERS: All right, bud. It'll be seven to go when you take the green.

ANNOUNCER: Keselowski, Harvick, with again the leader taking the inside of row one.

TIM FEDEWA: Here we go, going off the two.

- I got a bad restart on the top lane. And then I got shuffled back to fifth or sixth, there. I was a little harder on the car than I probably needed to, trying to get that track position back, trying to do things that I hadn't done all day. And wound up burning the tires off the car.

ANNOUNCER: Stage two winner for Roger Penske, Brad Keselowski.

RODNEY CHILDERS: It sounded like most of them guys on their radios, they were all pumping their tires up to get going, too. So just think about that for the end.

KEVIN HARVICK: I think at that point, I could tell in Rodney's voice on the radio that I needed to charge as hard as I could.

TIM FEDEWA: Come this time, this time.

KEVIN HARVICK: Really, the breaking moment of the night was when Rodney made the pit call to come in one lap before the two. And in that cycle, we were able to get our track position back, and get in front of the two. And at that point, we were back in control of the race. And that was really the key moment.

- You're the leader again. Just keep doing the you can.

RODNEY CHILDERS: Oh, trouble, turn two, guys.

ANNOUNCER: With 28 laps to go, Trevor Bayne blows up.

ANNOUNCER 2: Just remember how much trouble Harvick has on the restarts.

RODNEY CHILDERS: The biggest thing is just not spinning the tires on the restart. You need to have that half a car length lead before you get to turn one. You don't want somebody right on your right rear quarter panel and getting off in the corner.

KEVIN HARVICK: The last mindset was going to do everything that you can do to get off the line good. I didn't get a great restart, but I got a decent restart, and was able to get to the bottom. At that point it was just don't lose the race on this restart, because we had all the best circumstances playing out right for you.

ANNOUNCER: In the last five races here, Kevin Harvick has led 911 laps. Without a trophy.

TIM FEDEWA: Nothing out back, here. No worries.

ANNOUNCER: Kevin Harvick puts on a clinic, and wins the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

KEVIN HARVICK: Hallelujah! What a relief. Awesome job, guys. What a race car. Last five years, not just tonight, five years. Great job. Tonight it was cool to pay tribute to Dale Sr., and all the things that you wanted to do that particular day.

ANNOUNCER 2: What a special moment for Kevin, who holds those three fingers up in the air like he did in 2001.

KEVIN HARVICK: And it's just ironic how some of these things play out in life.

RODNEY CHILDERS: I've waited a long time to see that, man.

KEVIN HARVICK: I know. It's awesome.