Dec. 11, 2015
Pit Road Speeding Penalty Costs Harvick Race at Atlanta
Kevin Harvick led 293 of the 325 laps and had all the perfect pit stops one driver could hope for - except for the last one. A costly pit road speeding penalty sent Harvick back to 35th place from the lead. And the worst part is that it was the money stop - the one that counted the most.
Pit road was unkind to several other drivers who were caught with their speedometers down. Multiple infractions caused the crew chiefs of Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano to shake their heads in disbelief while their drivers had to come back down pit road and serve pass through penalties. Johnson was nabbed for too fast exiting and the 20 car was too fast entering. Dale Earnhardt Jr was also nabbed for too fast entering in 4 different segments.
Tire troubles also plagued drivers like Ryan Blaney, who brought out the first caution with 38 laps to go in segment 1. He made an unscheduled pit stop with a right front tire going down, and later in segment 1 with just a couple of laps to go Daniel Suarez also pits with right front tire issues.
In segment 2, Brad Keselowski had to pit with 53 laps to go with right front tire issues, and Blaney came in a second time a lap later, also with right front tire issues. Jimmie Johnson lost 12 spots on his speeding penalty, coming in 6th and dropping back to 18th. He would not get much better of a finish on the day. With 27 laps to go in segment 2, Brad Keselowski makes an unscheduled stop and Denny Hamlin goes to the garage with a broken track bar mount.
On the next set of pit stops, the 78 of Martin Truex Jr had a little trouble getting out of his pit box and had to get a push start from his crew. With 63 laps to go in segment 3, the 23 of Gray Gaulding had to go the garage with left rear tire damage and Keselowski beat Harvick off pit road and took the lead but had to give it back to Harvick because of a loose left rear tire - the crew had to re-tighten the lug nuts. He lost 13 spots on the exchange.
Towards the end of the segment, both Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon reported battery issues. Newman was pushed behind the wall with 30 to go and Dillon reported no power with just 17 laps to go in the last segment. There was no caution thrown at first until Dillon stopped on the front stretch and could not get his #3 Dow Chemical Chevy fired back up, having to be pushed by the tow truck back to pit road.
Here is your finishing order for the 2nd race of the 2017 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway: