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Harvick’s headway fades in late going at Pocono

Kevin Harvick seemed poised to check off one of the two tracks missing from his career win list Sunday at Pocono Raceway, staying in command for most of the 160 laps. But another chance at filling that void will have to wait until NASCAR’s return trip to the Pennsylvania track in July.

Harvick led a race-high 89 laps but slipped back to a fourth-place finish behind winner Martin Truex Jr. in the Pocono 400. The result gave Harvick five top-five efforts in the last six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, but he left the 2.5-mile with an 0-for-35 career mark there.

RELATED: Race results | Truex outlasts Pocono field

Harvick slid to second behind Kyle Busch in the running order after an exchange of pit stops on Lap 127. His Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford was unable to make up the ground in a flurry of four restarts before the finish, and he wound up in close pursuit of runner-up Kyle Larson and third-place Busch at the checkered flag.

“We had a good car all day, just came down to really losing control of the race on the last pit stop,” said Harvick, who joined Truex in staying on the track while others pitted during the 140th lap. “Really not pitting or pitting didn’t really seem to matter. We lost control to the 18 and wound up losing a couple more spots on the restart starting on the inside, and that was the end of the day. Car was fast and everybody did a great job, it just didn’t work out.”

Pocono and Kentucky Speedway remain the only two active tracks where Harvick has not won in his career. The 42-year-old driver will have the opportunity to cross off both next month with 400-milers at Kentucky (July 14) and Pocono (July 29) coming up on the schedule.

Busch achieved the career circuit sweep in the previous weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, finally ticking the box for Charlotte Motor Speedway in a points-paying event.