Defending Sprint Cup champion and points leader Kevin Harvick’s day ended early in Sunday’s Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway.
The engine in the No. 4 Chevrolet, which started second, let go on Lap 20, resulting in Harvick’s first DNF (did not finish) of the season.
“I definitely had some signs off Turn 2 as to what the problem was and then it expired going into Turn 3,” Harvick told NBCSN. “I thought we had a real good car, but circumstances didn’t go our way.”
Harvick likely will take a hit in the Sprint Cup point standings. He came into Sunday’s race with a 69-point lead over Joey Logano. But with two victories, he already is qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which makes his ranking virtually inconsequential.
Harvick’s previous worst finish this season was 38th at Bristol.
Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick took advantage of the closing minutes of the third and final Sprint Cup practice Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
As a result, the two Stewart-Haas Racing teammates ended the final practice 1-2 on the speed chart.
Busch topped the field with a speed of 181.987 mph, while Harvick was not far behind at 181.763 mph.
Kyle Larson, who had held the top speed for much of the session until Busch and Harvick passed him, wound up as third-fastest at 181.357 mph.
Jimmie Johnson, who struggled in the first practice session in the morning, came back to end up as the fourth-fastest driver at 180.697 mph.
Martin Truex Jr. was fifth-fastest at 180.672 mph.
The Sprint Cup cars will be back on track Saturday but just for qualifying for Sunday’s Brickyard 400.
Here’s how the weekend’s final practice played out:
Kevin Harvick remains atop the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
And with Martin Truex Jr.’s wreck on Lap 28, Harvick, who finished fourth, opens up a 53-point lead over second-ranked Truex and a 57-point edge over Joey Logano. Jimmie Johnson, 70 points back, moved up one spot to fourth.
Ryan Newman gained two places, from 16th to 14th. Race winner Kyle Busch was the only other driver to gain two spots, from 39th to 37th. Busch is now 136 points out of 30th place (Cole Whitt). He must finish the first 26 races within the top 30 to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Carl Edwards, who won this race last season, dropped the most in the standings, from 14th to 17th.
Kevin Harvick and eight other drivers wasted little time in topping 200 mph in Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice at Michigan International Speedway.
Harvick topped all drivers with a best effort of 202.492 mph.
Joey Logano was second-fastest (201.607 mph), followed by Martin Truex Jr. (201.157), Denny Hamlin (200.921), Jeff Gordon (200.781), Jimmie Johnson (200.591), Kasey Kahne (20.473), Carl Edwards (200.261) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (200.211).
Kurt Busch had to go to a backup car after smacking the Turn 2 wall with the right side of his car.
Next up today for the Sprint Cup drivers is qualifying this afternoon at 4:15 pm ET.
The other two Sprint Cup practices will be held Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s main event, the Quicken Loans 400.
Kevin Harvick maintained his stranglehold on the Sprint Cup points standings after Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Harvick continues to hold the edge on second-ranked Martin Truex Jr., whose fifth place finish in the race allowed him to pick up fie points on Harvick and is now 41 points behind.
In his first points-paying race back after suffering a broken leg and fractured foot at Daytona in February, Kyle Busch is already up to 41st place in the standings after finishing 11th in Sunday’s race.
Busch just needs to reach the top 30 and win a race before the cutoff after the September race at Richmond International Raceway to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Here’s how the driver standings look after the Coke 600, which marked the 12th race and the end of the first third of the 36-race season: