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.”