Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing squad have slowly but steadily clawed their way back into the race for victories, coming up a little short at Richmond on Sunday.
Harvick, who last won in the NASCAR Cup Series on Sept. 19, 2020, in Bristol, Tenn., demonstrates significant progress this season since the Next Gen chassis was introduced.
Harvick’s team adopted a two-pit stop approach in the final phases on Sunday to put themselves in a position to fight for the victory on fresher tyres.
They came up short, placing second by 0.552 seconds to Denny Hamlin and his squad, who used a similar tactic to win.
Harvick has the most top-10 performances at Richmond among current drivers, with only one finish below the top-15 at the 34-mile circuit since joining SHR in 2014.
“I’m just really proud of everyone on our (team) for just staying in there and having a great strategy and doing everything that they did all day,” Harvick said. “It was really the first clean day that we’ve had all year.
“The cars have been fast and had a shot there at the end. I wanted to be close enough at the white (flag) to just take a swipe at (Hamlin), but the lapped cars kind of got in the way and I lost a little bit of ground.
“Still, it’s a great day for us and hopefully a little bit of momentum in a positive direction.”
Harvick’s second-place result was his first top-five and second top-10 of the season. He climbed to seventh place overall, the best of the four drivers at SHR.
“It’s still a great day for us. The cars have run good all year,” Harvick said. “It’s really the first clean day that we’ve had with nothing going wrong, so that’s a good thing.”
Harvick was questioned what the lesson was with the Next Gen car on speedways after his other top-10 finish (sixth) three weeks ago at 1-mile Phoenix.
His response: “We’ve run good at both of them, so hopefully that continues.”
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