“The Closer” was closing fast Sunday at Richmond Raceway, and Kevin Harvick was prepared to do what he needed in order to get by race leader Denny Hamlin on the final lap.
He never quite got the chance.
Both veterans drove up into the top two positions late by virtue of pit strategy and fresh tires, but the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – looking to win for the first time since the 2020 Bristol Night Race – simply couldn’t get to Hamlin’s bump on the final lap of the Toyota Owners 400.
“We had a shot there at the end,” Harvick told FOX Sports after finishing second for his first top-five finish of the year. “I wanted to be close enough at the white to take a swipe at him, but lapped cars got in the way there.”
The win was the first of the year for Hamlin and, as mentioned above, Harvick’s first top-five finish. It hasn’t been the easiest stretch of the 46-year-old Harvick’s career, but Richmond’s showing perhaps indicated that it’s getting better – and perhaps that breaking the winless streak is coming.
“I’m just really proud,’ Harvick said. “I’m proud (of the team) for staying in there and having a great strategy. It was really the first clean day we’ve had all year.”