“Go have a few fun the next two weeks, that’s for sure”.
“We have moved on as a team”. He won, then won it all the next week when his second straight checkered flag gave him the highest finish among four championship drivers to earn the crown. Harvick’s auto suffered the most damage – a tire rub.
Kevin Harvick stood by his confetti-coated vehicle and used it as a resting spot for a couple of crushed beer cans, when his crew belted out a catchy rallying cry.
It’s not a stretch to think Harvick could win at Dover, where he is a former victor.
As great a day as it was for Harvick, it was just as disappointing for six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, it appeared, needed disaster to befall Harvick.
“It’s kind of the way the whole season has gone, to be quite honest with you as far as winning”, Harvick said two races into the Chase. Johnson finished 41st and ended up missing the 12-driver second round of the Chase by 12 points. “Just sorry we aren’t able to go to the next round”.
“If you can land on a track that is one of your better tracks and not necessarily your best track, it only increases the odds”, Johnson said.
“I thought he had us beat”, Kenseth said. “Our vehicle wasn’t that good on the outside and I didn’t expect anyone else’s to be that good”.
Johnson said last week at New Hampshire that he and Harvick hadn’t spoken since their Chicagoland altercation.
“I haven’t really known how to react to it, just for the fact that it’s real now”, he said.
The trouble for Harvick was as surprising as the victory for Hamlin.
Jim Utter of Motorsport.com noted the decision means current Chase for the Sprint Cup leader Matt Kenseth will start from the pole position Sunday.
He never has won in 29 starts at Dover, but has led 338 laps in the past three races at the 1-mile oval. The surprise is that a championship team, with an ace crew chief in Rodney Childers, has watched gambles on tire and fuel strategy backfire in each race.
Hamlin slid to the bottom of the track to make it three-wide as he jumped from third to first on the restart with five laps remaining.
Gordon seemed taken aback and humbled by Dover’s tribute, which also included proclamations from the city of Dover and Delaware’s House of Representatives and Senate.
Saturday’s Hisense 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race is still slated to begin at 3:30 p.m. Kasey Kahne finished sixth, Matt Kenseth seventh, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. eighth, Kyle Larson was ninth and Joey Logano 10th.
Stewart will continue as part-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing which now also fields cars for Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick.
“My only question is, did they go big enough?”
For the 2016 season, the series will debut an aggressive aerodynamic package (with dynamic front section and eight-inch rear spoiler) inspired by the American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, thus strengthening the racing bond between the United States and Europe.