DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2011) — Kevin Harvick took over driving duties of the No. 4 OneMain Financial Chevrolet Impala at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the Subway Jalapeno 250 presented by Coca-Cola. One of four Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) entries for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Harvick qualified the No. 4 on the pole and remained near the front of the field for the majority of the event before shuffling out of the top 10 late in the race. Harvick and the No. 4 OneMain Financial Chevrolet avoided the wild multi-car accident which occurred as the race ended and walked away with an 18th-place finish.
Harvick started the day out on top in qualifying, grabbing the pole for the Friday night showdown after posting a lap time of 49.545 seconds (181.653 mph). The pole was the driver’s first for the season and 23rd career pole in his 272nd start, tying him with Jeff Green for fifth all-time in the series. KHI also made Nationwide Series history by becoming the first organization to qualify all four of its entries in the top four positions.
As the green flag dropped, KHI teammate Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet hooked up with Harvick pushing the pole sitter around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Working together, the OneMain Financial duo was able to pull away from the field and maintained their lead positions through the opening laps of the 100-lap event.
Harvick was running in the top five when the first caution of the event fell on lap 26. Crew chief Chris Carrier and the No. 4 OneMain Financial team chose to take a pit strategy similar to the No. 2 KHI team in order to stay near their drafting partner. Carrier called Harvick onto pit road on lap 27. The crew filled the car with fuel and bolted on two left-side tires. An excellent stop by the OneMain Financial crew enabled Harvick to pick up two spots on pit road and take the lap 31 restart from the second position.
Harvick and teammate Sadler continued to work in tandem maintaining their positions near the front of the field. Knowing they were good on fuel until lap 70, the No. 4 crew decided not to pit when the second caution of the race fell on lap 34, allowing them to maintain track position.
Not long after the field resumed green-flag racing, the third yellow flag of the night waved on lap 43. Harvick brought the OneMain Financial Chevrolet down pit road on lap 45 taking two right-side tires and fuel. The No. 4 KHI team made a second pit stop during the caution to top off on fuel and strategically place them in position to pair up with teammate Clint Bowyer in the No. 33 Menards Chevrolet.
NASCAR brought the field back to green on lap 49 and just as quickly brought the yellow flag out for a fourth caution as cars stacked up during the restart. Harvick radioed to the crew that his windshield was covered in fluid and it had become difficult to see. Carrier called his driver to pit road on lap 52 for the crew to pull a tear-away from the windshield and again top off on fuel. After the stop, Carrier radioed to Harvick that the car was about six laps short on fuel so he would need to try and conserve as much as possible. As the field went back to green-flag racing Harvick and Bowyer continued working together and quickly climbed their way to the front of the field after starting the run at tail end of the lead lap cars.
On lap 55 Harvick became loose as he and Bowyer traveled out of turn one. Harvick shot down the track but was able to hold on making a spectacular save and quickly regained his spot in front of Bowyer. The duo continued working together trading positions to maintain water temperatures on the cars avoiding overheating. By lap 72, Harvick had pushed Bowyer into the lead.
The fifth caution flag waved on lap 80 after Bowyer and Harvick made slight contact which sent Bowyer into the outside wall on the backstretch. The No. 4 OneMain Financial crew made their fifth and final pit stop on lap 81. The team took fuel only on the stop which put Harvick in the lead for the restart on lap 84.
Back under green-flag conditions without a KHI teammate near to draft with, spotter Billy O’Dea quickly went to work to find Harvick a new drafting partner. The No. 22 of Brad Keselowski was available and willing to help, but unfortunately was back in the fifteenth position. Without help right away, cars sailed by Harvick as he slid back through the field until he met up with Keselowski. The sixth and final caution came out on lap 89. With the knowledge that the car was good on fuel, the No. 4 OneMain Financial car stayed out to maintain track position.
The green flag waved on lap 93 and Harvick continued to work with Keselowski. With seven laps remaining in the event, the two-car tandem had worked their way into the lead with KHI teammates Sadler and Tony Stewart gaining momentum on the inside. As the final laps approached, Harvick and Keselowski split apart, causing both cars to slide back through the pack. A wild multi-car accident broke out as the front of the field made their way towards the checkered flag. Harvick was able to wheel the No. 4 OneMain Financial Chevrolet across the finish avoiding the melee, bringing home an 18th-place finish after a solid run out front all night.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will head to Kentucky Speedway next Friday, July 8 for the Feed the Children 300. The No. 4 KHI Chevrolet Impala will return for Nationwide Series competition at Kansas Speedway on October 8 during the Kansas Lottery 300. Catch the action live on ESPN and MRN at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Thoughts from the Driver:
“We had four great cars out there tonight. We made history by qualifying all four KHI entries out front, we led the most laps and were in the lead when the field took the white flag, but that’s superspeedway racing for you. Anything can happen at a track like this. I’ve got to thank all of the partners who helped make things possible for KHI tonight, OneMain Financial, Rheem, Menards and the guys from TapouT. Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to make history. I just wish we would have been able to get to victory lane for them.”