Pit Road Issue Frustrates Harvick
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on June 22, 2014 | 7:45 P.M. EST
A slow pit stop proved costly for Kevin Harvick on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo: Getty Images)
SONOMA, Calif. - Can it get any worse for Kevin Harvick?
It seems that ways are invented to keep him from winning even though he’s had the fastest car nearly every race this season.
Sunday, Harvick’s car sat on the jack waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting even though the car had been serviced. A miscommunication with the gas man cost Harvick and soon after he couldn’t avoid Clint Bowyer’s spinning car. The damage ruined any chance to win, and the result was a 20th-place finish for one of the race’s best cars.
“Today was just another day with the fastest car,’’ said Harvick, who led 23 laps. “We had a chance to win the race and kind of flubbed it up again. Just got ourselves bad track position and crashed.”
Problems occurred when Harvick pitted under caution on Lap 72 of the 110-lap race at Sonoma Raceway. He entered fourth. He lost two spots, although crew chief Rodney Childers said he felt they could have gained a few positions if not for sitting in the pit stall.
“We basically sat on the jack for about three seconds waiting on fuel and we didn’t need to,’’ Childers said. “Bad, bad miscommunication or decision on some of the pit crew member’s part.’’
Harvick restarted 11th, which included trailing four cars that did not pit. He didn’t crack the top 10 before Bowyer spun in Turn 11 on Lap 82. Harvick tried to dodge Bowyer’s car but hit it.
Then it became a matter of trying to salvage the race.
So, what does Childers tell his crew after something like this, knowing their mistake played a role in sticking him deeper in the field?
“All in all, we got to get it together,’’ Childers said. “The pit crew has worked really really hard to get their pits stops better. We got that better and now we’re doing stuff like we did today to take us out of the win. Everybody keeps saying that the pit crew is messing up. The pit crew is not actually messing up. We had a great pit stop, and we just sit there on the jack, waiting for the gas man to say it was full.
“If we wouldn’t have sat there and waiting, we would have beat (Jeff Gordon) off pit road and he almost won the race,’’ Childers said of the race’s runner-up. “We had a way, way, way better car than (Gordon) did.’’
This is the 10th time this season Harvick has had problems when he’s been running well. Four times this season he was either first or second when he had issues ranging from a flat tire to a loose wheel to running out of gas.
He’s had other races where mechanical issues have thwarted his bid for wins.
“Even if we wouldn’t have won we would have finished in the top three and, at this point, that’s what we need to do,’’ Childers said. “We need to keep bringing fast cars to the race track. If we can’t win the race, we need to finish in the top five.’’