Avondale, Ariz. , William Byrne celebrates with his team as Rodney Childers in Victory Lane, as crew chief Kevin HarvickWent to pit road with a team member.
As they passed, a security guard lamented Childers’ pit call before not working overtime.
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Harvick entered pit road as the leader on lap 305 of the 317-lap race. The children called for a four-tyre change.
Six cars, including Byron, changed only two tires and was overtaken by Harvick. Even when a subsequent caution sent the race to overtime, it did not give Harvick enough time to get back in front. He finished fifth.
“I think everyone who knows us on the No. 4 car, we’re definitely better on four tires,” Childers told NBC Sports. “To be honest, it didn’t feel great to win two (tire). We’ve been here several times (two-tire changes of late) and have lost more than we’ve won.
“But I looked down and thought we’d be back on green with about seven (laps) to go and then we spun carefully for four laps waiting to be all green-white-checker. I thought that was completed.
“If this is what we’re going to do, we need to tell everybody what we’re going to do instead of just pit everybody and then walk around like that. We had a really good time throughout the weekend.” The car was there. We hardly changed anything all weekend. Should have, could have won.”
Harvick said Childers made the right call.
“That’s what I would have done,” Harvick said. “I’ll always be on offense. I didn’t get a few cars when the first caution came out. Missed our chance. Still I thought I had a chance at the end. Those cars were slow enough. They all get jammed . It goes like this. Just smoke ’em until you’re careful.
While the focus was on the Hendrick Motorsports cars this weekend, Childers said he thought Harvick had the best car. Childers credited the incident with being in the simulator three times and finding “something we liked”.
The Hendrick teams took note of Harvick’s speed.
“We compare our (Harvick) and (Kyle Larson) … we were watching,” said Rudy Fugle, Byron’s crew chief.
“I just felt like it was going to be (Harvick’s) kind of race, right? You see that long green-flag turn in stage three with no downforce, a bunch of dirt racers, Harvick wrapping up is, and William is being disciplined. Disciplined to run and be really good at, which Kevin is amazing at.
Even though the team did not win, Harvick scored top-10 finishes in each of the three West Coast races – fifth at Auto Club Speedway, ninth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and fifth at Phoenix. The only other driver to finish in the top 10 in all three West Coast races was Alex Bowman,
“We had a great weekend,” Childers said. “The other tracks, I don’t think everything we would’ve done with (Byrne and Larson) in Vegas. We definitely have some work to do there, but (shorter) tracks like this one were our best last year.” There was bread and butter.”
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Kevin Harvick timed out after four-tire pit call originally appeared NBCSports.com