HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Kevin Harvick led 41 laps, many of them early and under green-flag pit stops, coming home fourth but falling short of Kyle Busch for the 2019 NASCAR championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Harvick finished third among the Championship 4 drivers behind race-winner Kyle Busch and runner-up Martin Truex Jr. The 4 car had a good short-run car, but long runs dominated the night with the 4 team trying a late pit strategy to stay out and hope to draw a caution on fresher tires. The yellow never came, giving Bush the runaway win.
In all, four Mustangs finished in the top-10 as Harvick was joined by Joey Logano (5th), Clint Bowyer (6th) and Ryan Newman (7th).
Ryan Blaney was just outside the top-10 in 11th while Daniel Suarez was 14th in his final race for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Paul Menard finished 17th in his final Cup race as a full-time driver. He and David Ragan, who finished 27th, announced they will retire after today’s race.
Ford finished 2nd in the manufacturer standings to close out the 2019 NASCAR season.
MENCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st - Kyle Busch
2nd - Martin Treux Jr.
3rd - Erik Jones
4th - Kevin Harvick
5th - Joey Logano
6th - Clint Bowyer
7th - Ryan Newman
8th - Austin Dillon
9th - Alex Bowman
10th - Denny Hamlin
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
11th - Ryan Blaney
14th - Daniel Suarez
17th - Paul Menard
18th - Brad Keselowski
19th - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
22nd - Aric Almirola
26th - Michael McDowell
27th - David Ragan
POST RACE QUOTES
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang
YOU GUYS STAYED OUT TOWARD THE END AND TRIED SOMETHING DIFFERENT, WAS THAT BASICALLY YOUR ONLY SHOT WITH THE WAY THE 19 AND 18 WERE RUNNING? "Yeah, we just needed to do something different. They were so much better than us on the long run, that was our best chance, to have a caution there at the end and we never got one. We did something different, hoping for a caution. We had to do the opposite and it just didn't work out."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD ANYTHING FOR THEM AT ANY POINT IN THIS RACE? "On the restarts I could do what I wanted to do and hold them off for 15 or 20 laps. This race has come down to that every year. You kind of play toward that and they were quite a bit better than us on the long run. We had a really good car for those first 15-20 laps on the restarts and had a lot of speed, we just never got to try to race for it there with the caution."
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE RESTART WHERE THE 19 GOT INTO YOU? "I just spun the tires and he ran into the back of me."
IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT YOU WERE OUTNUMBERED FROM THE GET-GO? "Not really. I mean, you race against these guys and it really turns into individual battles and I would say those guys were all racing for each other and trying to win a championship. I didn't really look at it quite that way."
WERE YOU AT ALL SURPRISED WITH THE PACE OF THE RACE TONIGHT? "My car didn't drive very well and it looked like mine drove a lot better than most of them. You didn't see very many tire marks against the wall or anything like that. Just no cautions and nothing happening. When that happens, you just get spread out."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang
“You want to win. You want to be the one who spoils the must-win to win the championship party if you’re not in it and we just weren’t fast enough. Maybe a late-race restart would could have made some magic happen, but fifth was the best we were gonna do. That was about the highest we got all race long and apparently all year long as well because we were fifth in points, so it was a strong year. It wasn’t a championship year. We want to be better, but we’ll move on.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang
“We had a solid night. You always want to win when you come to this race track. It’s a cool race track with a lot at stake and a lot of eyes on it, so you want to win, but, all in all, we gained another spot in the points. I’m proud of our efforts there. We stubbed our toe one or two races and had some crummy luck at actually some good tracks for us – Martinsville – kind of got us behind the eight ball and kind of knocked us out of that Round of 8. That hurt us, but, all in all, we rise to the occasion in the playoffs and ran our best all year long in the playoffs, so I was proud of those efforts.”
RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Wyndham Rewards Ford Mustang
“I didn’t really realize we were seventh, but I’m proud of the guys with the Wyndham Rewards Ford. We had a loose wheel that put us back. We had a really good car. We had one run there at the start of the third stage that just wasn’t quite as good as we needed to be, but I felt like our last run was pretty good. I’m proud of the guys. We made a lot of progress this year. It’s a good way to end the season and prove that we were a top 10 car there at the end. We didn’t end up there in points, but just proud of the overall team effort for sure.”
SOMETHING TO BUILD ON FOR NEXT YEAR. “We had something to build on before tonight, but tonight definitely adds to it.”
DAVID RAGAN, No. 38 Thank You David Ford Mustang
"Our last race was really uneventful. We tried some strategy a few times and it kind of bit us. We probably lost a lap or two that we shouldn’t have, but we were being aggressive because we didn’t really have anything to lose I can’t say enough about everybody at Front Row Motorsports and the NASCAR industry for making this last weekend special. It was a tough season. I wish we had some better results to show for it, but the last season won’t dictate my 13-year career. We’ve had a lot of fun, a lot of good memories and don’t regret anything that we’ve done. I’ll sleep good tonight and think a little bit over the offseason on what I want to do next year and I’m sure I’ll be around.”
AND YOU HAVE SOME PICTURES TO REMEMBER TODAY. “Yeah, I’m not too much of a guy that plans ahead and thinks about all that fun stuff, but thankfully I’ve got a good wife and a good team at Front Row Motorsports that made today special. I probably wouldn’t have done some of those things, but those memories and videos and fun stuff we got to do will be something we talk about and remember for a long time.”