Race 8 of 33: ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway
Track Specs: 0.75-mile oval / 250 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy; 49 deg.
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin
Harvick’s finish: 18th
After a promising start in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway, Kevin Harvick and the No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza team fell victim to an uncharacteristic 18th-place finish.
The night started strong for Harvick, who made a progressive climb forward from the outset of the race. With a Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet that excelled during long green-flag runs, Harvick cracked the top five by the 100-lap mark. By lap 121, he climbed to third and briefly challenged for the lead before settling back into third.
Then on the 126th circuit, Harvick radioed crew chief Dave Elenz about an issue with the right front. The issue prevented the car from settling properly into the track and created major handling issues on the No. 88. As a result, Harvick slid from third to 18th.
Under the next caution on lap 146, Harvick twice brought the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet to pit road for the team to assess the problem. The team was unable to determine the issue, and in an effort to not lose a lap, sent Harvick back onto the track. He went on to finish the race in 18th.
Denny Hamlin won the race and was followed to the line by Joey Logano, Regan Smith, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott.
Dave Elenz, crew chief No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza team
“It was certainly a disappointing night for us. Not how we expected to run for JRM or our partners at Hunt Brothers Pizza. The night started off well. We made a couple chassis adjustment over the course of the first two stops and the car really seemed to respond. We’re still not really sure what happened to the car. It was pretty apparent there was a major issue. We’re going to have to get it back to the shop and have a look at it.”