Heading into the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick was the guy to beat.
Harvick had won five of the first 12 races in 2018; six if you count last week’s Monster Energy All-Star Race. He was going for his third straight points win and fourth straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event.
Harvick was “freaky fast” in Sunday night’s (May 27) race as well. After missing qualifying due to failing the pre-qualifying inspection, Harvick started the race in last place, but with a car as fast as he has had, it was only a slight setback.
The No. 4 showed that dominant speed through the beginning of the race — it only took him 45 laps to get to sixth place. Harvick had moved up as high as the fourth position when tragedy struck.
On lap 83, Harvick’s left front tire blew, and his Ford sailed off into the outside wall. Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers immediately called Harvick to pull it into the garage, and the team’s day was done. The wreck happened just 17 laps prior to stage 1’s end.
“The guys did a great job, and we definitely had a great car,” Harvick said. “Just driving to the lead there and just wound up having a tire go down, no warning.”
Harvick was evaluated and released from the Infield Care Center. The DNF was Harvick’s second of the year and it marked the third time this season he has finished off of the lead lap.