By the time he rejoined the fray, he was 58 laps down with, really, no chance to improve his position, but he was looking for the No. 48 vehicle in hopes of exacting revenge. Jones restrained Harvick until Harvick’s wife, DeLana, intervened and the two of them coaxed him into a waiting Chevrolet Suburban. Those three plus Gordon pitted under yellow leaving Kyle Busch to lead the field to the restart on Lap 197 of the 267-lap race.
As an aside, NASCAR has decided Harvick at least won’t be penalized for his post-race antics with Johnson.
Harvick’s trouble began when he and Johnson were third and fourth on a restart and contact created a tire rub for Harvick. Harvick immediately took his #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet to the garage for repairs after significant damage. Johnson eventually finished 11th.
As Johnson explained his version after the race, he had an idea that Harvick was going to be upset. The spin flattened the tires on Hamlin’s ride, causing him to cautiously limp around the 1 ½ track until pit road opened allowing him to stop for fresh tires.
“He didn’t leave me any space”. When you’re in Kevin’s situation, you want to give the inside vehicle a bad angle so they’ve got to lift. So I worked my way back onto the track… And it wasn’t to stand in Victory Lane.
He admitted to spinning his tires on the restart in a subsequent television interview with NBCSN. “I got a fairly good restart”. “I saw those guys coming on the apron; they must have gotten together and had a good run up”. “I mean, my vehicle was really fast”. It happens. Harvick has never shied away from contact, intentional or otherwise, on the track.
Logano steered clear of the controversy after finishing in sixth place.
“Denny Hamlin has punched his ticket to the next round”, Edwards said, “and he didn’t even need a fist”. “I don’t want no part of that!” Harvick emerged and attacked Johnson.
“When the caution came out there at the end, I thought we had the right strategy, but we didn’t”, said Kurt Busch, the 2004 champion.
NOTES: Kyle Larson pulled NASCAR triple-duty at Chicagoland Speedway, running the Camping World Truck Series race and Xfinity Series race, in addition to Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race.
The only big hit of the 16 Chasers, of course, was Kevin Harvick, who comes into this weekend’s race in New Hampshire in last place. Jeff Gordon is on the bubble with Jamie McMurray three points behind, Paul Menard four, Clint Bowyer six and then Harvick with the deepest hole.
“Don’t ask me to choose sides”, Logano said. We gotta try to win though. “We can win anywhere”.
The good news for Harvick is he won on the similar Phoenix track back in March, was runner-up at Richmond in April and was third at New Hampshire in July. By the same token, the standings are still pretty tight, and then there’s that “winning thing”, something the likes of the defending NSCS champion can do on about any given week. As a kid he said he trekked from his home in downstate Paris, Ill., to Indianapolis to watch races. Sure I could have written something about the call that Dave Rogers made to keep Hamlin out on the last caution, but otherwise the race was another 1.5-mile snooze-fest. Hamlin elected to continue racing through the Chase. While drivers such as Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., I am only concerned that the field is tight, and a day like the one Harvick had at Chicagoland could put me in a real bind come Dover, but yet I have not been as consistent as the driver now in 16th.
Steckly is more than just a stock vehicle racer, he builds his own cars from the ground up at his 22 Racing shop in his hometown. What makes this week more impressive is not only how that win came, but the story leading into it.