Nascar Offical Misses Call at Texas Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick finishes second in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 after his crew got away with an unconrolled tire on a late-race pit stop.
Three-time 2018 race winner Kevin Harvick finished second to Kyle Busch, who claimed his first win of the season after three runner-up showings in the first six races of the season, Sunday in the O'Reilly 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but did Harvick get some help in the form of a "no-call" by a NASCAR official? Harvick's No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team looked to have a tire get away during a green-flag pit stop on lap 291, but there was no penalty.
Officials, however, had no problem penalizing Ryan Blaney for an uncontrolled tire on lap 43, although Blaney's No. 12 Team Penske team's uncontrolled tire infraction looked less clear than that by Harvick's team later. Blaney fell off the lead lap for the first of two times during the race because of the penalty, but after going a lap down because of the uncontrolled tire penalty, he recovered by un-lapping himself by the end of the first stage on lap 85.
Harvick was a lap down at one point in the race because of an issue with a NASCAR-issued pit gun that resulted in an extra pit stop to remedy a loose wheel. He got back on the lead lap during a cycle of green-flag pit stops that was interrupted by a caution with just under 100 laps remaining in the 334-lap race.
“We did overcome a lot,” Harvick said. “That was unfortunate. We had a pathetic day on pit road, two days on pit road because of pit guns. When you have a pit gun problem like we have multiple times and been able to overcome it, and then today, we couldn’t overcome it. Time after time, you can’t get the lug nuts tight because the pit guns don’t work.”
Harvick was running second to Busch when he made the pit stop that included the controversial "no-call." After final pit stops were completed, Harvick was still second to Busch and battled the eventual race winner for the lead throughout the remaining laps. If he had been assessed a penalty for an uncontrolled tire, a second-place finish would've been unlikely.
After the race, Nick Bromberg, a NASCAR reporter for Yahoo! Sports pointed out on Twitter that, after the no-call, a NASCAR official celebrated the stop with a couple of members of Harvick's team, as he fist-bumped with team car chief Robert Smith, and Harvick's business manager Josh Jones patted the official on the back.
NASCAR President Brent Deward agreed with Bromberg's tweet.