Kevin Harvick anything but ‘Happy’ after second consecutive runner-up finish

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After running 600 miles (400 laps), you can’t really blame Kevin Harvick for wanting to get out of Charlotte Motor Speedway as fast as he could after finishing runner-up to Jimmie Johnson in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

Wouldn’t you be in a rush if you recorded your second straight runner-up finish – and a rather frustrating, far-too-close runner-up finish at that – in as many races (also was runner-up two weeks ago at Kansas)?

After calling out his pit crew for costly mistakes on pit road during a TV interview immediately after the race, Harvick definitely was anything but his nickname of “Happy” when he walked into the CMS Media Center.

“We had a fast car all night, just kind of fumbled again on pit road,” Harvick said. “Got behind, got a lap down. We needed a 700-mile race to get back to where we needed to be.

“All-in-all, they’re doing a great job of putting cars up on the track, we just have to clean up on pit road.”

Harvick at first disagreed that it was Johnson’s turn to win Sunday, coming into the race tied for the worst season start of his Sprint Cup career.

“I look at it as we let them slip one in front of us by shooting ourselves in the foot,” Harvick said.

But this is the defending and six-time Sprint Cup champion we’re talking about, and Harvick eventually acquiesced that Johnson was not only due for a win, he was overdue.

“You knew that was going to come,” Harvick said. “They’ve won championships and done a great job through the years. They were solid all weekend, didn’t make any mistakes, kept themselves up front all night and won the race.

“In the end you’re going to have to beat them in all ways, shapes or forms, just not on speed.”

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.