Harvick Second Again at Auto Club
By: Corey Vaissiere - @CVaissiere on March 20, 2016 | 9:19 P.M. EST
Kevin Harvick led 142 of the 205 laps but finished second after losing the lead on a late restart. (photo: Getty Images)
FONTANA, Calif. - Kevin Harvick led 142 of the 205 laps in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, but for the second straight year would have to settle for a runner-up position.
Harvick was on cruise control to win coming to the white flag, however a caution was thrown for debris from Kyle Busch’s blown tire before the leader was able to cross the start-finish line. This set up for a late restart and an overtime finish.
“That was the worst it has taken off on restarts, but we weren’t very good on restarts for four or five laps unless we were all by ourselves.” Harvick said after the race. “The No. 48 was able to hang with us and we just weren’t able to drive it in like I needed to, just didn’t’ have the front tires turning and the back wouldn’t grip.”
On the final restart Jimmie Johnson was able to get a great restart. He pushed Harvick to the lead heading into Turn 1 and then made the move that propelled him to the victory.
“They just had us beat for a couple of laps. That was even worse than it was the previous restarts. I don’t know,” said Harvick. “We just had a really good car today with our Jimmy John’s Chevrolet. It would just take us five or six laps to get going. That was worst case scenario for us.”
This second-place finish marks the 14th time since the start of the 2015 season that Harvick has finished in the runner-up spot.
To add a little salt to the wound, Harvick has finished second to Johnson in eight of Johnson’s last 11 victories.
Despite not closing out his dominating performance, Harvick continued to be upbeat.
“Still a good day for us, just have to thank everybody from Jimmy John’s and Busch. We will keep at it.”