Kevin Harvick’s Amazing Last Lap Pass
Kevin Harvick Comes Out of Nowhere to Shove Jimmie Johnson Out of the Way for the Win
Kevin Harvick led just one lap in the Auto Club 400 at California’s Auto Club Speedway today. But it was the one lap that mattered. Harvick chased down both Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson in the final laps – making a last lap pass for the lead on Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet just a few hundred yards from the finish line.
“Yeah, we led the right one, that’s for sure,” said a beaming Kevin Harvick of the battle to the final trip across the start finish line.
I have to admit that as I watched Harvick slice into the lead of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson I thought he had taken 4 fresh tires on the final pit stop. I was surprised to learn after the race was over that Harvick had managed to not only catch, but pass the two leaders on old tires. You’re not supposed to be able to chase down Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch like that. Especially not at Auto Club Speedway, a race track the pair has dominated.
Why was Harvick’s No. 29 Chevy so fast on those tires? “Our car was able to get some air pressure built up in the tires and we were able to really fire off there right off the bat up top,” explained Harvick.
The key to Harvick’s victory – other than a fast car that came to life on old tires – was an aggressive push against the bumper of Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy down the backstretch at 200mph on the final lap.
That push allowed Harvick to build up a full head of steam going into turn three. And it cost Jimmie Johnson a split second of concentration. That was all Harvick needed to make the pass as Johnson’s car broke loose ever so slightly.
“I was after one thing,” said Harvick, “that was to run the very top of the racetrack. I was hoping that he thought he was going to be going too fast to run the top of the racetrack and get loose.”
“I just wanted to roll in as easy as I could and lay back to the throttle, go into the center of the corner, hopefully be able to leave it down on the exit. It all played out okay.”
What did you think of Harvick’s strategy and what else do you have to say about the race. Here’s your chance to have your say or talk about your driver. Have at it in the comments below boys and girls.