The Final Word – They came, they saw, and they lost to Harvick…this time at Las Vegas

If you missed the action from Las Vegas, allow me to bring you up to date. If you read my column from last week regarding Atlanta, consider yourself fully informed. Enjoy your day.

If you have a few more moments to spare with me, last Sunday was a lot like the previous Sunday. Only worse, if you do not happen to love watching Kevin Harvick go to the front and ruling the contest. Atlanta saw him have to overcome some slight adversity, more of an inconvenience than anything else. Las Vegas saw him manage to escape with barely a scratch even when his air guns were malfunctioning. He led, he won both stages, he claimed his second straight win, the 39th of his career, and put the maximum 60 points in the bank. Not that he really needs it.

Worse than Atlanta? Well, when you consider that half the field was lapped after the first segment and only nine were on the same circuit as Harvick at the end, yes. It was worse. Not only did Harvick lead 80 percent of the time, almost all those who were in the Top Ten during any segment finished in the Top Ten at the end. The only exceptions were Kurt Busch, who had his car break loose and then proceeded to break the car of Chase Elliott. That concluded their day far too early in the final frame.

Kyle Busch finished second, but Kyle Larson picked up more points by taking third. Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney also did better to end the day in the Top Five. Also among the best of the rest, we had Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Paul Menard, while the aforementioned wreck opened the door for Top Tens available to Erik Jones and Aric Almirola.

Jimmie Johnson at one time was a couple of laps down, but considering he entered the race sitting 35th overall, a 12th place result was damn near as good as a win. That rockets him up to 29th in the season rankings. Still not good, but better.

Joining the seven-time champ outside the Top 20 we have a pretty fine representation of talent. Elliott drops down to join Trevor Bayne, A.J. Allmendinger, William Byron, Jamie McMurray, Daniel Suarez, and Kasey Kahne among the have-nots. Every race provides a chance for redemption, a chance to recover and move back up the ladder. The funny thing is, as in odd not humorous, while at this time of year we think time is on their side, the actuality is that the longer it takes for redemption, the longer are the odds of climbing out of the hole. The door closes quickly.

Phoenix might provide some measure of salvation. The bad news is that of the past 11 contests held there since the fall of 2012, Harvick has won six of them. The good news is that he has not won it since the spring race two years ago. More bad news is that while Kahne has won there, he has not done so since the autumn of 2011. Johnson has four, including three straight. Unfortunately, none since November of 2009.

Maybe next week’s column will sound a whole lot like this one, and the one before that. I sure hope you love Kevin Harvick.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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