Night time was not the right time for Kevin Harvick

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's Ford, race during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2018 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick, an eight-time winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season, had the dominant car in the daylight hours of Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Only one problem: the sun went down.

Harvick charged from a 12th-place starting spot win the race’s first stage. He finished second to Kyle Larson in the second stage and led 58 of the 267 laps, all told.

But when darkness fell, the handling of Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford fell off, and after a late caution and trip to pit road left him fourth for a restart with 15 laps, Harvick had to settle for a third-place finish in lieu of a second series championship.

“Yeah, we had a daytime race car,” Harvick said. “As soon as it got dark, we never could get our car tightened up there at the end. And then they made a great call to put us in position to win the race, and then the caution came out when the 2 car (Brad Keselowski) spun the 19 (Daniel Suarez), and we came off pit road fourth.

“Our strong point was not the restarts tonight and wound up on the wrong side of it.”

Despite the loose handling condition, Harvick was in position to challenge for the win in the late going. He was running second behind Kyle Busch, who needed to pit for fuel and would have had to surrender the lead, setting up a battle for the win between Harvick and fast-charging Martin Truex Jr.

But with the caution on Lap 247, that matchup never materialized.

“They put us in a position to win if the caution didn’t come out, and we had a shot there… It’s just the way it all shook out. The 22 (Logano) could take off really good.”

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 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.