Even the drivers who beat him to the checkered flag acknowledged that Kevin Harvick had the fastest car in Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway.
But with a litany of issues to overcome, Harvick could do no better than fourth behind race winner Kyle Busch, runner-up Daniel Suarez and third-place finisher Alex Bowman.
After he posted the fastest lap in Saturday’s time trials, Harvick’s car failed inspection, and his time was disallowed, bumping the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to 29th in the starting order.
It didn’t take the six-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner long to race his way to the front. Harvick won the second stage, but pit strategy by the Toyota camp left him ninth for the final-stage restart on Lap 106.
Contact with teammate Aric Almirola damaged the No. 4 Ford, and Harvick had to make multiple trips to pit road to repair the sheet metal. Though he raced his way to fourth at the finish—nearly catching Bowman on the last lap—Harvick was disappointed with the result.
“It was eventful,” Harvick said wryly. “I think we went to the back twice and made our way back to the front each time. We made a good race out of it, but it’s hard to swallow on a day like that when our Mobil 1 Ford was the class of the field.
“You never know what is going to happen on these days. It’s hard to put them together, and you win some and lose some.”