Kevin Harvick comes up short of victory after restart troubles
If you ever wanted to know how hard it is to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, just ask Kevin Harvick.
In 2014, Harvick won the series championship in his first year with Stewart-Haas Racing and last year he nearly repeated, finishing second in points and second in 13 of 36 races.
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, Harvick led 142 of 205 laps and appeared headed for an easy victory until Kyle Busch cut a tire with two laps to go, bringing out a caution and sending the race into overtime. On the final restart, Jimmie Johnson was able to get past Harvick to win the Auto Club 400, his seventh race win on his home track.
The victory was also the 77th of Johnson's career, breaking a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt for seventh on NASCAR's all-time victory list.
Harvick didn't do anything wrong in finishing second; his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet just didn't take off the way he wanted it to, and in the end that was the difference between winning and losing.
"That was the worst it's taken off on restarts," said Harvick of the final green flag.
"But we weren't very good on restarts for four or five laps, unless we were all by ourselves," said Harvick. "The 48 (Johnson) was able to hang with us, and we just weren't able to drive it in like I needed to. Just didn't have the front tires turning and the back wouldn't grip, so ... still a good day for us."
But a frustrating one for Harvick and his team.
Can't even describe how much it hurts when you have a car that dominant and don't win.. Great job by @KevinHarvick and all the guys...— Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) March 20, 2016