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.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.