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.

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.