By Jerry Jordan/Editor
Wins in the NASCAR Cup Series are so important that drivers aren’t worried about admitting their intentions to move a leader out of the way if it means they could have a shot at taking home the checkered flag.
It happened in the Xfinity Series race on Saturday at Richmond Raceway and in the Camping World Truck Series and Cup Series races last weekend at Circuit of the Americas. On Sunday, following the Cup Series race, Kevin Harvick showed no shame in telling the world what he was trying to do to Denny Hamlin on the final lap of the Toyota Owners 400.
“I wanted to be close enough with the white (flag) to just take a swipe at him, but the lapped cars kind of got in the way and I lost a little bit of ground,” Harvick said.
The runner-up finish was Harvick’s best of the season, so far, but like all drivers, he wanted the win, and he wasn’t shy about saying how he intended to get it.
“We kept chipping away at it and they had the right strategy to win the race and just wound up one short,” he said. “We finally had a day where nothing went wrong. Cars have been fast. Had a shot there at the end.”
It wasn’t lost on Hamlin that Harvick might try to move him out of the way. He played his cards perfectly and on the final lap, he was surprised that he benefitted from the lapped-down cars as they slowed Harvick’s run.
“I was a little worried with the lapped cars that were trying to stay on the lead lap and trying to get a lap back,” Hamlin said. “There were a couple of Fords that were side-by-side when I had Harvick behind me but overall, I knew that I was racing the 4 (Harvick’s No. 4 Ford).
“Eventually, you can’t roll the dice and continue to roll 7-out (loser) every time. Eventually, you are going to get a point here and there, so the odds are that if you keep banging on the door, it is going to open.”
Harvick conceded the finish was a good start for the team to turn things around because even though the team has had speed, it’s had a lot of bad luck.
“It’s still a great day for us,” Harvick said. “The cars have run good all year. It’s really the first clean day that we’ve had with nothing going wrong, so that’s a good thing.”