Date: Oct. 31, 2021
Event: Xfinity 500 (Round 35 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th / 12th (Running, completed 501 of 501 laps)
Point Standing: 6th with 2,318 points
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 500-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):
● Kevin Harvick started ninth and finished 13th.
● The No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang steadily fell back and was 15th by the time the competition caution waved on lap 62.
● “Can’t get into the corner. Wants to lock up the tires. Plows up off (the corner),” said Harvick during the caution.
● Pitted for four tires and fuel with a track bar adjustment during the caution on lap 63.
● Lined up 13th for lap-68 restart. Ran a handful of laps before another caution on lap 73. Remained 13th.
● Grabbed 10th place shortly after lap-77 restart, but gradually dropped to 13th by the end of the stage.
● “It started off better, but it still doesn’t turn on long runs,” said Harvick. “I don’t have enough forward drive on exit.”
● Pitted for four tires and fuel with a right-rear wedge adjustment upon the conclusion of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):
● Harvick started ninth and finished 15th.
● Grabbed eighth place from Joey Logano on lap 153.
● Caution on lap 198 allowed Harvick to pit for four tires and fuel with another right-rear wedge adjustment.
● “That was definitely better,” said Harvick before the stop. “Still need help on the long run.”
● Lined up eighth for lap-204 restart, but some jockeying for position among others left Harvick 14th by lap 208.
● “I’m out of control… sideways!” said Harvick on lap 215 while running 15th.
● Harvick held steady in 15th through the end of the stage.
● “Slides the back and just won’t turn,” said Harvick about his Unibet Ford Mustang.
● Pitted for four tires and fuel with a right-rear wedge adjustment before the final stage began.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500):
● Harvick started 12th and finished 12th.
● Dropped to 16th by lap 282.
● “Won’t turn and no rear grip on exit,” said Harvick during a caution on lap 311.
● Harvick used the caution to pit for four tires and fuel and to get another right-rear wedge adjustment.
● Lined up 14th for lap-320 restart before the caution flag waved again on lap 324. Was 15th for lap-330 restart.
● Was 14th when caution came out again on lap 340.
● Pitted on lap 341 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to left- and right-side wedge.
● Was 15th for lap-346 restart.
● “Hard to defend (position) when you can’t put the throttle down,” said a 15th-place Harvick before another caution on lap 359.
● Lined up 16th for lap-363 restart.
● Caution on lap 379 allowed Harvick to pit for four tires and fuel and a left-rear wedge adjustment. He restarted in 18th on lap 385.
● “Won’t turn. No rear grip as soon as you push the accelerator,” said Harvick while under caution on lap 437 and in 17th.
● Pitted on lap 438 for four tires, fuel and a right-rear wedge adjustment. Restarted in 14th on lap 444.
● The No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang was 15th when the caution flag waved again on lap 456. Harvick opted to stay out for track position, where he restarted in 13th.
● Survived a barrage of yellow caution flags in the final 35 laps to finish 12th.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only finished outside the top-20 once at Martinsville – a lone 33rd-place finish in October 2014.
● Alex Bowman won the Xfinity 500 to score his sixth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin over second-place Kyle Busch was .478 of a second.
● There were 15 caution periods for a total of 91 laps.
● Twenty-five of the 38 drivers in the Xfinity 500 finished on the lead lap.
The NASCAR Cup Series season finale is Sunday, Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. The championship race starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!