Ricky Bobby said in Talladega Nights that finishing second makes a driver the first loser.
Kevin Harvick would disagree with that.
Even though Harvick’s two-race winning streak came to an end in Sunday’s Auto Club 400, there was no shame to finishing runner-up to Brad Keselowski.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” Harvick said. “I’m just glad to be a part of such a good race there.”
Harvick took consolation in the fact he has now finished either first or second in the last eight Sprint Cup races, dating back to last season.
Harvick is three such finishes shy of tying Richard Petty’s NASCAR record of 11 consecutive top-2 showings set in 1975.
In the end, the decision by Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch’s teams to go with two tires on the second-to-last caution late in the race was the difference. Keselowski gambled and took four tires.
Had there not been a second late caution, two tires likely would have been enough for Harvick or Busch to hold on for the win.
“You could have flipped a coin as to what the right strategy there was at the end with tires,” Harvick said. “I’m just proud of (crew chief) Rodney Childers and the pit crew and everybody for just having a solid day.”
Now it’s on to Martinsville for Harvick, without any second-guessing or looking in the mirror after Sunday’s race.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” Harvick said. “A great call won us the championship (last season). It was still the right call today if the caution doesn’t fly twice.
“You just have to race and you never know what’s going to happen with the caution and things as these races come to an end, especially here.”