Speeding in Pit Costs Victory for Kevin Harvick

Abigail Smith, Staff Reporter

On the March 5th NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick had a chance at taking the win but got caught speeding on pit road during a caution. In Hampton, Georgia, the debate was focused on the asphalt track from Sunday’s race.

The asphalt was a big issue on pit road because it is past the expected usage, being over a decade old.  Hard driving, especially in the pit area, caused the surface to be breaking apart from all the drivers racing out to get back in the race.  At this point pit lane actually has potholes, that made the drivers have to slow down.

Harvick led 292 laps during the race with 11 laps to go when he was sent to the back of the line which was hard to deal with.  Brad Kaselowski was in 3rd and after Harvick was sent to the back, Kaselowski restarted second next to Kyle Larson.

Kaselowski easily passed Larson and took the win, “If the track was repaved, I wouldn’t have passed Kyle Larson for the win because the groove would have been too small, it would have been too easy for him to block my air,” Kaselowski said to reporters, post-race. Many other drivers got caught speeding in pit road also. Harvick got caught going over the 45 mph limit in pit road, even with a 5 mph limit tolerance which got him his penalty. Jimmie Johnson got nailed twice for speeding in the pits, Matt Kenseth, and [Derrike cope = SP?] also got caught speeding too.

They say if the pit road was repaved it might actually help keep the drivers from speeding as the speed timing lines would be a lot more clearly visible. A lot of the drivers had to take the chance at speeding coming out of pit road from all the grooves and lines which you can see walking on the track and even driving on it.

Some of the drivers, like Kaselowski, like this “loose” old track which allows a slightly different kind of racing, where cars slide more, and where picking your spot to pass requires a strategic knowledge of the track.

Even if you are in first place you never know what can happen, you never know what the track is like until you get to it, and you never know who will win a race. Harvick had a chance at winning but ended up getting sent to the back just because the way the asphalt was on pit road.

“I just hate donking them [his pit crew, for mistakes earlier in the season] like that and myself and making the petty mistakes that I preach all the time that you don’t need to make and beat yourself, and then you go out and make it yourself instead of following all the things that you preach,” Harvick said, post-race to reporters from ESPN and Autoweek.

You always take a chance. At anything.