While leading, Kevin Harvick pitted under green for what he thought was a flat tire; It turned out to be just debris on the splitter
Kevin Harvick was dominating last week at Kansas Speedway. He won stage 1, finished 2nd in stage two and was leading in stage three.
On lap 180, Harvick had a multi-second lead. He then started to slow as he thought he had a flat tire or a loose wheel.
Harvick dropped speed well before the entry to the pit lane. He ended up going several laps down. When he made the pit stop, the crew didn’t find anything loose or flat.
However, they did take a big piece of trash off the grille.
Kevin Harvick on splitter debris at Kansas
“We took off in the last segment and run wide open for 12 laps,” Kevin Harvick opened via ‘Happy Hours’ on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“Apparently, a windshield tear-off had balled up and hit the front of the car. It wrapped itself just around the front edge of the splitter.”
“I drove into the next corner and it had 3 degrees more wheel input and went straight. I’m like, ‘Man, I have a flat tire.’ “
“I drove it into the next corner, same thing. In the end, it was literally just that piece of debris.”
“As we went through conversations, that’s not as uncommon as I thought it was. Daniel Suarez actually had the same thing happen at a test earlier this year. They got a trash bag on the front of the car, he pitted the next lap because he thought he had a flat tire.”
“Those splitters are super sensitive with this particular aero package, for whatever reason. When that piece of debris wrapped around the splitter it didn’t have same distance between the front of the splitter and the nose with that piece balled up in there… it really effected the way the car felt.”
Rodney Childers on splitter debris
“The biggest thing is just exactly what’s going on with that splitter. It’s really hard to explain to the fans out there just how sensitive that stuff is,” Rodney Childers told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“The front edge and the bottom of that splitter has what most people call a bull nose. It’s really radius and helps flow the air under the splitter.”
“But, doing that, it made the splitter sensitivity to the ground incredibly sensitive. It also made that edge incredibly sensitive. Just having a race worn splitter compared to a brand new splitter, you’re knocking 75 counts of downforce off just because that edge gets messed up.”
“When that tear-off got on the front, it was wrapped around the front edge of the splitter. It affected the downforce of the splitter itself. Then, it also messed up the airflow to the radiator pan.”
“I think what freaked Kevin out is he had run wide open for 12 laps straight and never touched the brake pedal. He just went in the corner and it pushed really bad. Like the right front tire was soft.”
“He thought the tire was going down. It never vibrated. It never did anything but handle really bad and he was way out of the gas trying to get it to turn.”
“To be honest, it’s probably the most frustrating year I’ve ever had. It’s so hard to know what you need on certain days. Right now, you almost need a different body or different car for every race track we go to.”
“That makes it hard to build cars and to know exactly what you need to have. If it’s cloudy and 55 degrees or a 55 degree night race then you need a car that’s fast and doesn’t have a lot of drag.”
“Charlotte next week, it’s suppose to be 93 degrees when they start the race. A race weekend like that, you better have some downforce in it.”
“We made some bad decisions in races earlier in the year.”