Kevin Harvick’s attempt at winning the first NASCAR Cup Series race of his final season has come to an end. Leading the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway during Stage 3 Sunday, Harvick’s Busch Light No. 4 Ford Mustang got loose and went for a ride.
Around Harvick went, leading to a massive wreck behind the leaders. Five cars in total were knocked out of the race — including Harvick.
At first glance, it appeared Harvick had gotten dumped by Ross Chastain — “Chastained” as has been coined. Replay, however, showed Chastain’s bumper never clipped Harvick after he got a run going into Turn 2. Chastain radioed to his team that he didn’t have any damage and didn’t touch Harvick.
“I think he just caught me so quick in the middle of the corner and he was up on the right rear,” Harvick told PRN after the wreck. “Then he came back down and it spun me out. I don’t think he actually hit me but it spun the car out when he moved down.”
Kevin Harvick Hits a Roadblock in 2023 Season
Prior to the wreck, Harvick appeared to be heading towards another solid finish. After a 12th place finish in the Daytona 500, Harvick reeled off three Top-10 finishes at Fontana, Las Vegas and Phoenix. He entered Sunday atop the points standings. The 47-year-old is in his final season, having made the announcement before the season.
“There is absolutely nothing else in the world that I enjoy doing more than going to the race track, and I’m genuinely looking forward to this season,” Harvick said, via NASCAR.com. “But as I’ve gone through the years, I knew there would come a day where I had to make a decision. When would it be time to step away from the car? I’ve sought out people and picked their brains. When I asked them when they knew it was the right time, they said it’ll just happen, and you’ll realize that’s the right moment. You’ll make a plan and decide when it’s your last year.
“It’s definitely been hard to understand when that right moment is because we’ve been so fortunate to run well. But sometimes there are just other things going on that become more important and, for me, that time has come.”