At Dover International Speedway a couple weeks ago, a lugnut took the valve stem out of one of his tires, forcing an unscheduled pit stop that left him disappointed with a sixth-place finish. Fast forward to Kansas Speedway and Harvick looked like the driver to beat after Joey Logano, who led 100 of the first 120 laps dropped back in the top 10 following a slow pit stop when the air gun hose got caught under the right front of his car.
But a pit road speeding penalty on lap 214 took Harvick out of contention for the race and allowed Elliott to cruise to the victory when a charging Kyle Busch lost his head of steam.
“I obviously got lucky with Kevin (Harvick) having his penalty, I thought we were really, really equally matched there,” Elliott said. “I wish we could have raced him straight up obviously, but had a great car today.”
For Harvick, it was a tough end to an uncharacteristic round of the playoffs where he finished inside the top 10 just once.
“Today wasn’t great from my standpoint,” Harvick said after the race. “Our Busch Light 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 had 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.”
Despite the 12th-place finish, Harvick enters the Round of 8 just one point behind Kyle Busch after scoring the stage two win and another playoff point at Kansas. He has a 39-point advantage over teammate Clint Bowyer, who currently sits fifth in the standings.
“Well, I think Texas is the one that I have circled,” Harvick said when asked about his thoughts heading into the Round of 8. “I think our car, having won that race last year and should have won there earlier this year finishing second. We just have to be patient and go and race one week at a time.”