Kevin Harvick’s Chase streak ends at Phoenix

Kevin Harvick (Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick finished 4th Sunday at Phoenix. (Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick finished 4th Sunday at Phoenix. (Getty Images)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kevin Harvick’s hopes of a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title ended with a fourth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway.

For the first time since NASCAR introduced its 16-driver elimination Chase format in 2014, Harvick won’t be racing for a championship in the season finale.

The performance of Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet was far from optimal during the weekend of the Can-Am 500 elimination event at the Arizona track.

Nevertheless, when the green flag waved for a second overtime, there was Harvick in fourth position in the outside lane, with a shot at the victory that would have propelled him into the Championship 4 for the third straight year.

But Kyle Larson took the final restart three-wide to the inside from the third spot, and Harvick had no room to advance, as Joey Logano pulled away for the win.

“We just started way too far off on Friday,” Harvick said philosophically. “We never got a handle on the race car. They made it a ton better in the race, and we were in contention there at the end and just came up short.

“Just really proud of everybody for the effort that they put in. It was a very challenging Chase for us for all the mechanical failures and situations that we had going on. We kept rebounding and winning races, and today we were a lap down (after a caution interrupted a cycle of green-flag pit stops) and came back to have a chance at the end.

“That says a lot about the character of our race team and we just came up short this year.”

About Greg Engle 7420 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.