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Restarts, broken track bar beat Harvick as much as Johnson at Dover

harvick dover1 2015 getty

Kevin Harvick didn’t exactly lose Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway to Jimmie Johnson.

Rather, it was on restarts where Harvick fell short, which was further exacerbated by a track bar on his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet that broke early in the event.

Still, to rally back as he did to finish second wasn’t just impressive. It’s what Harvick has done time after time after time this season.

“We just struggled at the end of the race on restarts, really all day on the restarts,” Harvick said after his seventh runner-up finish and 12th top 10 in the first 13 races of the season. “Once the track bar broke, we were pretty much in a box and just kind of had to hold on for the first 25 laps.”

With his second place, Harvick remained winless in 29 Sprint Cup starts at the 1-mile concrete oval.

The only other tracks where Harvick has failed to win a Sprint Cup race are Texas, Kentucky, Pocono (where the NASCAR circuit heads next) and Sonoma (which is in a few weeks). He has only four top fives 29 starts at the Monster Mile, but he led 91 laps Sunday.

“If we weren’t in the front then we struggled to just maintain what we had,” he said. “All in all, everybody did a great job, and I think when you look at Dover, it’s been a good racetrack for us.

“We’ve led laps and just haven’t quite finished it yet, but a good, solid day.”

And while he would have liked to have traded places with Johnson, Harvick also realized it’s hard to beat a guy who has won 10 times now at the same track.

“I mean, this is a good racetrack for them,” Harvick said of Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy team. “They had everything line up for them and had a good car, and they had a good car in practice and were able to make it happen there at the end on the restart. He’s just good here.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski