A week after dominating at Talladega Stewart-Haas Racing had a trying day in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
The good news is all four drivers will advance to the Round of 8 in the playoffs.
Kevin Harvick looked on his way to an eighth win of the season with yet another dominating performance. But a pit road speeding penalty on lap 214 took away that opportunity and despite leading 76 laps, Harvick had to settle for a 12th-place finish.
“Today wasn’t great from my standpoint,” Harvick said. “Our Busch Lite Ford was really fast and leading the race there and I got a speeding penalty. That was my fault. I tried to get a little too much and wound up going too fast. We will take it one week at a time.
“We have had fast cars and whether it is speeding on pit road or flat tires or valve stems or fuel, we haven’t put together a full day except for Richmond. Hopefully we have gotten all that out of our system and we can go to Martinsville and start off good.”
Pit road issues were also a challenge for Kurt Busch, who finished 18th.
“I am really happy,” Busch said about advancing in the playoffs. “It is exciting for us. It is our goal to win the championship. We are an elite eight team when we started Daytona and here we are, we did it. It was a rough day in the pits and on the track but we had enough points from the Roval and our stage races. It was a rough day and we need to put it quickly behind us. We are back on even ground. We are in the top-8 and Martinsville is the path to the championship down in Homestead.”
Clint Bowyer is still chasing his first career win at his home track. He finished 13th on a day where he thought there was much more promise for a better performance.
“For whatever reason Kansas isn’t my best track,” Bowyer said. “ I am way more comfortable on the short tracks. Going to Martinsville for this next round. If I can put together Martinsville and Phoenix like I am capable of and run Texas like we are capable of, I think we can be in Homestead. Now it is getting down to the nitty-gritty.
“Now it is eight good teams. There are 16 good teams but there are eight damn good teams. All eight of these teams have found victory lane and things like that. Now you are starting to pick up the pace or go home.”
Almirola, who had to serve a penalty for a tire outside the box violation, rounded out the SHR effort with a 10th-place finish.