Harvick’s crew chief apologizes for pit call at Sonoma

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 24: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Ford, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 24, 2018 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield.” Those words were spoken by Martin Truex Jr. as he celebrated in victory lane at Sonoma Raceway Sunday.  Truex was the windshield, as it turned out, Kevin Harvick was the bug.

Harvick looked strong near the halfway mark and it appeared that he was on his way to a second consecutive Sonoma win.  Harvick would lead 35 laps on the day and was leading in the final stage. With everyone needing one more stop on lap 73 Truex’s crew chief Cole Pearn called his driver in. The crew got up in the wall as if to prepare to pit the car. The move might have lured Harvick in who pitted.

Truex however stayed out.

He waited until lap 80 to make his pit stop, and with much fresher tires was soon slicing into Harvick’s lead.  By lap 88 he was 1.7 seconds back and regained the lead on lap 90. From there he began to pull away.

Harvick would pit again bringing his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer with him on lap 92 knowing that their only hope for a win would be a caution in the final laps.

After Harvick pitted, Truex had a lead over then second place Chase Elliott of 23 seconds.

Harvick would eventually cut into the lead of Truex, taking second with 9 laps to go. He ran out of time however and with no cautions in the final laps Truex won by 11 seconds.  Harvick would have to settle for second.

On his cool-down lap, Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers apologized on the radio to his driver and the team for the pit call.

“I kind of let everybody down there. I apologize,” Childers said on the radio.

“All good,” Harvick replied. “Always want to win but stuff happens.”

“Those guys do a great job,” Harvick later said. “You make some right ones, you make some bad ones, and sometimes you guess right, and sometimes you guess wrong. Who knows what is right or wrong. I thought that was a good call at the end to put tires on in case the caution came out. We got right back up to where we were running and put ourselves in position to have a chance in case the caution came out.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.