Kevin Harvick: "I’ve been punched in the gut a lot harder"

Kevin Harvick’s career-best NASCAR Cup Series season still has one more race but it won’t include a chance at a second championship.

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Mobil 1
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Race Winner Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang awarded the regular season trophy

Coming off a subpar finish at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, Harvick entered Sunday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with a 42-point cushion over the cut off to advance to the title race.

After a myriad of problems during the race, Harvick’s title hopes came down to the final of 500 laps. He basically needed one more position on the track to advance on points.

But much like the remainder of the race went, Harvick’s efforts to turn Kyle Busch and pick up another spot in the running order didn’t turn out well.

Both drivers spun but Busch was able to continue on, while Harvick ended up credited with 17th place, the last car on the lead lap.

 

“Look, these championships aren’t like winning like Petty and Earnhardt used to win them. You have to put them together three weeks at a time and it comes down to one race and it came down to one race for us tonight and came up short,” Harvick said.

“We just weren’t good and everybody on our (team) just kept battling to make it better and gave ourselves a shot there at the end. I tried to drive into the door of (Kyle Busch) to get that last point to make it and spun him out.

“I don’t usually drive like that, but you’re trying to make it to the Championship 4 and doing everything you can. Just came up short. Just not the night we needed.”

Harvick’s No. 4 Ford appeared off from the start of the race but he got into big trouble when he was forced to pit under green in Stage 2 for a flat tire.

He fell two laps down and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to make them up, as the race leaders were putting cars down a lap faster than cautions were coming out.

Harvick eventually made it back on the lead lap in the final stage and then had work feverishly to make up positions as Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin had collected stage points during the race while he struggled.

Despite the inability to compete for the series title, Harvick remained adamant he “had a great year.”

“You have to put together a few weeks and we didn’t put together these last few weeks like we needed to and just came up short,” he said. “I’ve been punched in the gut a lot harder.

“We won nine races, had a great year, and, like I said, the championship is kind of a bonus. It would be great to win it, obviously, but I’d rather go through the year and win races and do the things that we did and just came up short.”

 

Asked about the driver with the most wins in the season unable to compete for the series title, Harvick said he isn’t the first to experience it.

“That’s the system that we work in and it’s obviously skewed more towards entertainment than the whole year, so it’s exciting to watch and has that format that goes with it and you take them as they come and we race within the system that they give us and do our best,” he said.

“It just didn’t work out for us. The last three weeks didn’t go exactly how we needed them to and you’ve got to be right when you get to this Round of 8.”

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

Elliott wins Martinsville, Harvick eliminated in dramatic finish

Previous article

Elliott wins Martinsville, Harvick eliminated in dramatic finish

Next article

Hamlin narrowly escapes elimination after 'tough' cutoff race

Hamlin narrowly escapes elimination after 'tough' cutoff race
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Martinsville II
Drivers Kevin Harvick
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Author Jim Utter
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020