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Sonoma was rough for many -- not just Harvick

June 23, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Johnson, Bowyer, Vickers and more suffered damage at Sonoma

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SONOMA, Calif. -- Kevin Harvick had one of the fastest cars, and that's been the norm for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.

He wasn't able to parlay that speed into a trip to the winner's circle, and that's become all too familiar as well. 

Fast car, frustrating result.

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"Today was just another day with the fastest car," Harvick said after a 20th-place finish in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

"We had a chance to win the race and kind of flubbed it up again. Just got ourselves bad track position and crashed." 

With two wins, Harvick is all but assured a spot in the Chase. Sunday's ending didn't cost him a top-10 spot in the points. It was, however, another one of those "what could have been" outings. 

His Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet was far from the only car sporting damage in the aftermath of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' first road-course stop of the season. Three of the day's six cautions were the result of contact. Front ends were crushed, doors were dinged and various parts and pieces were seen dangling from the rear ends of cars as drivers made their way into the garage at the end of the race. 

"A couple of guys wrecked in front of us and then caught our right front and it was just too much damage; we had to pit," Brian Vickers (14th) said of his day.

"I got spun. I don't know by who," said Denny Hamlin, who wound up 26th.

"Had a great car, just got drilled by (Tony Stewart) and my steering was off from there," explained seventh-place Jimmie Johnson.

Harvick's troubles began shortly after the third yellow of the day, when a lengthy pit stop ("We were waiting on fuel," Harvick was told of the delay) dropped him from fourth to 12th for the lap-75 restart. 

Less than 10 laps, and another caution later, Clint Bowyer got into the back of Johnson in the tight Turn 11, Jamie McMurray got into the back of Bowyer, Bowyer spun and Harvick, diving to the inside, couldn't avoid the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.

"We got ourselves in position and had a flat," said Bowyer, who still managed a 10th-place finish. "It was going down and I was all over the place. Jamie just kind of finished me up and got me out of the way, I guess. Bad luck, man."

Harvick's crew did what it could to repair the damage to his car. The lost lap was regained under a subsequent caution. But his blue and white entry, which was out front twice for 23 laps, was never the same.

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