Kevin Harvick will have his work cut out for him in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway following a pre-qualifying inspection failure. He’ll start from the rear of the field after being excluded from running a lap during qualifying Saturday (Oct. 19) afternoon.
“We gotta pass a lot of cars, it is what it is at this point,” Harvick said. “You just go out and try to strategize and plan what you can and try to pass as many cars when you can at the beginning and go from there.”
Officially, Harvick’s car failed inspection three times and finally passed on the fourth try. As a result, he’ll lose 30 minutes of practice at Martinsville Speedway next weekend and his car chief was ejected. But there’s a little more to the story than that.
After the No. 4 Ford failed on the first run through inspection, it passed on the second but had an issue with the car that needed a repair. It turned out to be a weight on the driveshaft that was hitting while they were pushing the car, according to crew chief Rodney Childers, who was none-too-pleased
“We went back through and they counted it as a failure.
“That part is disappointing. I think everybody in this garage would have each other’s backs. If it was the 11 car, the 18 car and they found something wrong with their car, you should be allowed to fix it. It’s not a failure; you just passed tech. That part’s really disappointing to me.
Because NASCAR counted it as a failure, the team was forced to take the car through inspection for a third time, but it “barely failed the right rear toe.”
“That part’s on the teams for sure,” Childers continued. “But when you lengthen the track bar two rounds, you make your best guess on the truck arm.”
Instead of going through inspection a third time, the team could have sent Harvick out for his lap, made the repair afterward and then taken the pre-race penalty of dropping to the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments before the green flag on Sunday, but the driver doesn’t second-guess the team’s decision to fix it.
“A number of things lined up right there,” Harvick explained. “Going out on the track and having it drag was probably not a good option for a number of reasons. I think we all felt like we had to try to fix it, and I don’t think anyone thought we were anywhere close on the toe to fail the next time or we probably would’ve thought through things a lot differently.”
On the fourth try through inspection, the No. 4 Ford passed and the team shut the car in its garage stall ahead of Sunday’s race.
“Hopefully we don’t have any more problems and get through the race the best we can, get some stage points and move on,” Childers said.
For Harvick, there’s no additional pressure of this weekend being an elimination race to set the Round of 8. He currently holds a 36-point cushion over the cutoff line.
“It’s just another race,” Harvick said. “It’s like I’ve talked from the very beginning, you deal with the situations as they approach you. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first race or an elimination race. You never know what the circumstances are going to be and you have to adapt and adjust as they present themselves.
“You do what you can do; we’ve been in these types of situations before and you adapt to it and go about your business.”
Harvick, who has three wins at Kansas including one last May, will start 40th. He hasn’t finished worse than 15th at the mile-and-a-half oval since this race in 2015 (16th), and earlier this year, he led 104 laps en route to a 13th-place finish. The Hollywood Casino 400 will run Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
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