You’d think Kevin Harvick would have vented frustration after finishing second to so dominant a driver Sunday as Martin Truex Jr., was in the Coca-Cola 600.
Just the opposite. Rather than fixate on the lost opportunity to race Truex down the stretch, Harvick was elated that a car he figured was no better than 10th-best in this race turned out to be the runner-up entry.
“We struggled the first 450 miles,” Harvick said post-race. “They (his crew) kept swinging at it and finally found some tire pressures that were better. First part of the race we kept having the same problem: getting into the corner and sliding out of the corner.
“Toward the end we were able to start really driving it like we needed to keep up.”
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Harvick said he might have had a chance had there not been a late caution that allowed Truex to change tires. After that, Harvick and third-place finisher Jimmie Johnson were distant in Truex’s rearview mirror.
“Once he got new tires and made an adjustment, it seemed like he was able to get out in front of us. We were never going to make up all that ground once we got around the 48 (Johnson’s car).,” Harvick said.
No victory Sunday, but also no regrets on Harvick’s part.
“We ran 10th all day. So I’m just really, really happy. When you’re able to take a 10th-place car – at best – and drive it 450 miles and then make huge gains (the rest of the way).
“At the end of the race we obviously didn’t have the best car. Those guys (Truex’s Furniture Row Racing team) have had some fast cars this year and tonight definitely had the dominant car.”
Truex led for all but 12 miles Sunday in Sprint Cup’s longest race.
“I only saw him for (the last) 50 or 75 miles,” Harvick said of Truex’s Toyota. “The rest of the time I was swatting flies in the middle of the pack.”
Harvick said he had a chance, ever so briefly, to catch Truex, only to discover his Chevrolet was overly tight out of the last pit stop.
“I thought we were going to run right by him, but we got tight on that last run,” Harvick said.
Harvick won in Phoenix this season and this was his fourth second-place finish. Considering what he was fighting against most of the race, he left Charlotte Motor Speedway satisfied.
“Early on we were just really bad. Tight coming into corners and loose coming out,” Harvick said. “Nothing seemed to be working and then were just stepped back and swung for the fences.”
“We were able to pass with our car once we got our handling together. The cars were already sliding around a fair amount all day.”