Jimmie Johnson captured his first stage win of the year in stage two.
But the sometimes-ornery Harvick wasn't stressing out over a winless 2017. In a sport in which the details produce the speed that makes the difference between top-5s and wins, he knew that finding that performance would take time.
Some of the lesser NASCAR teams bring in specialists for the road courses because their usual drivers don't have the background to tackle places like Sonoma, but the best they can hope for in those cars is not to leave them completely mangled. "But, long after your career guys come along and win races and some of your accomplishments on the track sort of get forgotten". Everybody back in Denver (Colorado), thank you guys for just insane fast cars. It was his first since winning at Kansas last autumn and it was his first at Sonoma.
During their time together Harvick and Childers captured the 2014 Cup title and have won 13 races, tied for third-most in that span.
It's back to Daytona and restrictor plate racing next week for the Coke Zero 400 night race on Saturday, which sees the return of NBC television coverage for the remainder of the season. Daytona 500 victor Kurt Busch was seventh for Ford. By that time, Denny Hamlin was a distant second to Harvick and Clint Bowyer third. However, both were able to reenter the race and finish it with Junior coming in at No. 6 and Danica coming in at 17.
Harvick found some luck at Sonoma, where the leading Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. dropped out with engine trouble after his final pit stop, leaving the Californian with a comfortable lead. And it didn't hurt that NASCAR officials reined in their trigger finger on the caution light and didn't flip it for debris or spinning cars over the final 10 laps until a hard hit by Kasey Kahne on the final circuit around the 1.99-mile road course. Hopefully I left a good impression.
Team New Zealand, which has been fast in light wind, needs two more victories to lift sailing's greatest prize from two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA, which is owned by software magnate Larry Ellison.
Who knows, he might even make it look easy.
"I thought our auto was fast to win at the end of the race", said Harvick. "We have technicians who work on our skis, boots and bindings, so we appreciate what they do".
"I think the wins and everything, are great".
"There's still a lot of room for growth", Harvick said. "I mean, people forget that we're going upwards of 200 miles an hour on racetracks and that it is very unsafe". "We were in the wrong place at the wrong time a couple of times".
It took rookie William Byron just a week to get over one of the most brutal losses of his young career. The entire fleet of Penske drivers chased him across the finish line as he recorded his forty-first win in the series, putting him only one victory behind Michael Andretti, who is third on the wins list.
"Let's face it, you're not going to keep that team that's won a championship, won all these races in the last five years, you're not going to keep them out of winning", Bowyer said. "I think it gave us extra motivation". The Kiwis won Race 8 by 30 seconds. He had a fast vehicle Sunday, but started the final 60-lap segment in 32nd position after a series of mishaps, including a spin, contact by A.J. The significance of Truex's stage dominance shows in the points. Alon Day also started in the back after missing driver introductions. "I mean, sitting there running second on seven cylinders and stayed right with the leader".