Harvick forced to pit early because of forgotten “bean bag” weights in car

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Kevin Harvick has won twice this Sprint Cup season, but his stout pace in almost all of this year’s races has also been repeatedly undone by bad luck and mistakes by his No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing team.

However, this latest episode may be the most bizarre.

Harvick started fourth in today’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International, but on Lap 2, he ceded multiple spots on the track.

The reason: A pair of “bean bag” ballast weights that are used during pre-race tech inspection had been left in the car and then got loose on the floorboard.

After a close call with Matt Kenseth, Harvick was able to get to the pits on Lap 3. An SHR crewman reached into the car’s right-side window and removed the weights, while the car was additionally topped up with fuel.

Harvick returned to the track in 42nd place, but has gained some ground back after staying out during a Lap 10 caution for a Turn 1 crash involving Cole Whitt.

When the green flag came back out at Lap 15, Harvick was listed in 22nd place.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”