Kevin Harvick and his team owner, Richard Childress, were diplomatic in the moments following Sunday's Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Diplomatic, but not satisfied. Harvick was not happy.
Harvick, who entered the final race in third place in the championship -- 46 points behind Denny Hamlin -- had positioned himself to make a heroic, if unlikely run at his first title, dethroning four-time champ Jimmie Johnson and capitalizing on Hamlin's Sunday afternoon of misfortune.
After racing near the front all day, Harvick exited the pits in first place for a restart on lap 188 of the 267-lap race -- only to be penalized for speeding on pit road (right).
NASCAR said his No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was too fast entering the pits and he was sent to rear of the lead-lap cars, dropping him back to 29th place. Harvick was understandably livid on the team radio when he received the news and still maintained after the race that he was directly behind a car -- on its bumper -- and therefore couldn't have been speeding.
"I don't think that penalty will ever settle in my stomach,'' Harvick said in a post-race press conference. "When you read me off of my pit road times of 49.6, 49.4 50.8 and then 49.6; and there's only a handful people that get to see them, I won't ever settle for that.
"I don't know how you can be speeding when you're on the bumper in front of you and if the other guy is not speeding. So that's about it. ''