Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team’s up-and-down season was more down than ever before on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, and it ended his run in the postseason.
“We’ve been like that all year,” Harvick said after finishing 29th, five laps down. “We’ve been hit or miss, and tonight we just missed by a mile.”
There was not much to the highlight reel for Harvick. Harvick qualified 16th, which was the highest he would sit on the leaderboard, and less than 100 laps into the night, Harvick called his car a “piece of (trash).”
Harvick was 29th at the end of the first stage. In the second stage, Harvick began to fall laps off the pace and was as low as 33rd in the running order. His average running position at Bristol, a track he has three victories at and has led over 1,000 laps, was 27th.
“I’ve had some good days and bad days,” Harvick said of his night, “but that’s definitely the worst one I’ve had with fenders on it.”
In his final season, Harvick will not earn a second championship. Harvick was the first driver below the final transfer spot by four points to Bubba Wallace.
“I didn’t really have many expectations with how up and down the year has been,” Harvick said. “It is what it is, and that’s probably about what we deserved.”
Bristol was Harvick’s worst finish in the three-race round.
“We were slow,” he said.
Harvick had a top-five car in the opening race of the playoffs but was penalized for pitting under a closed pit road because the caution came out as he was crossing the commitment line. With how close it was to Harvick making the commitment line, the No. 4 team elected to complete the pit stop. Doing so triggered the penalty, whereas if Harvick had driven through pit road, he could have blended back into the running order. Harvick finished 19th.
“We could have won Darlington,” he said. “We were off at Kansas and terrible here.”
There are seven races remaining in the season and Harvick is still seeking a victory before his tenure with Stewart-Haas Racing is over.
“I’m probably looking forward to Phoenix,” he said. “I think that’s definitely been our best racetrack. We haven’t been great on the mile-and-a-halves, and tonight we were just way off.”