Same script for Kevin Harvick yet again: Strong start, strong car, not so strong finish

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Kevin Harvick has become NASCAR’s version of Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.

No matter what he tries or does, Harvick just keeps getting the same outcome: bad luck and misfortune.

It’s like a broken record, second verse same as the first.

What began as a day that promised the potential of finally breaking his run of frustration ended with a not-so-promising finish.

For the second time in as many races and for the fourth time in the last seven, Harvick started Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway from the pole.

As he typically has done, he had a great start and was headed for what appeared to be a great run.

And also as he’s looked probably close to a dozen or more times thus far in the 2014 campaign, Harvick appeared to have the fastest car and the one to beat.

But by the time the checkered flag came around Sunday afternoon, Harvick was nowhere to be found near victory lane.

Once again, the bad luck that has plagued him throughout the season struck again, relegating him to a disappointing 12th-place finish.

Harvick has had a spate of issues this season, mostly pit crew errors that ultimately led to a swap of pit crews with Tony Stewart’s team before the Chase began.

Yet as old-time radio disc jockeys used to say, “the hits just keep on comin'” for Harvick.

This time, on Lap 215 of the 267-lap event on the 1.5-mile layout, Harvick came onto pit road with what appeared to be a right front tire issue.

Or so he thought.

“I thought I had a flat tire and pitted just because you see all the trouble that’s going on,” Harvick said to ESPN about the number of his fellow drivers that had tire problems in the race.

As it turned out, it was not a flat tire but simply a handling problem.

“We missed it a little bit on the handling today,” Harvick said. “We qualified well and had good track position that saved us at the beginning of the race.

“But when I thought I had a flat, it got us behind.”

You could tell the disappointment from Harvick by the look on his face and the terseness in his voice.

When asked what it was that made him believe he had a flat, Harvick simply said “Didn’t turn” and walked away.

Sure, having one crazy thing after another seemingly every race can drive a race car driver batty.

But sooner or later the law of averages is bound to turn around for Harvick, who is now sixth in the Chase standings, 15 points behind new series leader Joey Logano.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski