Kevin Harvick may have finished third in Saturday’s Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 but he wasn’t thinking that way.
“We needed a do-over,” said Harvick, “we got our butt whipped today. We were at best the third best car.”
[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Harvick credited his team on pit road for keeping him in contention. That in itself is quite the change from Harvick being frustrated every week with their performance. This time he chalked it up to the driver being a hindrance.
Harvick admitted that in practice he didn’t get the car set up where it needed to be. Saying he didn’t know and was nervous with where the balance needed to be and that the swing wasn’t what he expected.
The mistakes he said hurt their effort in the beginning of the run.
“I got the car so that I couldn’t drive it in the corner,” Harvick said. “I couldn’t make any time like those guys were doing to get a good run through the center and up off and pointed in the right direction.”
On one hand it’s easy to see where Harvick’s coming from. Not just himself but all of the competition got spanked on Saturday when Kyle Busch led every lap and won the race. He now goes two-for-two on the weekend and will look for the second ever triple in NASCAR history on Sunday afternoon.
On the other hand, finishing third and coming off a victory with Tony Stewart in the Nationwide Series race last weekend in Daytona, as well as second place with Clint Bowyer, keeps KHI in their rhythm. They’ve picked up where they left off from last season.
Phoenix was no different. On Friday night Bowyer drove a KHI truck to the pole and a second place finish behind Busch.
But with the Saturday domination by Joe Gibbs Racing, it led the owner in Harvick to say they had work to do. It wasn’t a bad day by any means he said but they have a plan going forward.
Any team would be lucky to have a third place finish, even if they felt like they were out to lunch most of the race. A company however, that’s accustomed to leading laps and challenging for wins is not willing to settle for being more then nine second behind the leader and never having a chance at second place or the win.
Harvick found himself in that position Saturday driving his No. 33 Menards Chevrolet.
“My fault,” said Harvick. “Hopefully we learned something today, we’ve got a little bit of work to do and we’ll go home and do that.”
There isn’t too much concern for Harvick however. When the Nationwide COT was introduced last season he won with it at Richmond. In NASCAR though, things are always changing and everyone is always learning.
Harvick knows his KHI team is quite capable of running how Busch ran on Saturday.
“I feel like we have enough resources to do the job we need to do to put the cars together,” he said. “We build good racecars we just didn’t put all the pieces together correctly today as far as the set goes and didn’t really give ourselves a fair chance.”
Harvick then revealed that during the race he had a chance to check out the competition and how a repeat of what Busch accomplished on Saturday and only having 12 cars on the lead lap can be avoided in the future.
“Driving around as we were lapping some of the cars, it’s not funny, but you could just see that it’s different the way that the cars work,” he said.
“Some of the cars looked like they had sway bars and things not on them, they were really rolled over and I think that’s just a product of trying to figure out exactly what you need to put underneath the new car,” he continued.
“It’s just going to take some time for the information to trickle to those guys. The camber and things are obviously different with the way these cars ride and the difference in travel and things and it’s just going to take time.”
That’s the competition, which has a lot of work to do. Harvick though, will bring his KHI team back to the shop on Monday and tweak on their mistakes so that in the future they’ll feel comfortable with a third place finish and know they did all they could.