NASCAR: Kevin Harvick dodged a bullet at Talladega

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Had Kevin Harvick won the YellaWood 500 before being disqualified by NASCAR at Talladega Superspeedway, it would have been devastating.

Hours after Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney won Sunday’s YellaWood 500 playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick was disqualified by NASCAR due to the windshield fasteners not being secure on his No. 4 Ford, knocking him out of his runner-up finishing spot.

Harvick has yet to win in his 23rd and final season of Cup Series competition, and it looked as though he had a chance to change that coming to the checkered flag in Sunday afternoon’s 188-lap race around the four-turn, 2.66-mile (4.281-kilometer) high-banked Lincoln, Alabama oval.

Blaney beat him to the finish line by just 0.012 seconds, leaving the 47-year-old Bakerfield, California native still in search of his first win since August 2022.

But the disappointment Harvick faced after finishing in second place by a hair was nothing compared to the disappointment he would have ultimately been doomed to face if he had actually won his final Talladega race.

Why? Because NASCAR would have stripped that win away from him anyway.

To Blaney, you could make the argument that a 0.012-second winning margin is a huge gap, considering the fact that his other two Talladega wins have come by exactly 0.007 seconds.

This 0.012-second gap makes up almost half of his combined three-win Talladega total of a 0.026-second winning margin, and it marks a 71% increase over his other two victories there. All things considered, he “had him all the way”.

But to Harvick, that’s 0.012 seconds from a major disappointment that he can be thankful he didn’t have to endure, even as he was already left wondering what could have been.

The 2014 Cup Series champion has five chances left to secure what would be a 61st career victory before retiring at the end of the season and moving to the Fox broadcast booth as their third full-time announcer for 2024 and beyond.

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The first of those chances is set to come in the Bank of America Roval 400, which is set to be broadcast live on NBC from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, October 8. If you have not yet had a chance to start a free trial of FuboTV, do so today!