Marks 5th Time as Runner-up in 2014, 7th Top-Five
Date: Aug. 17, 2014
Event: Pure Michigan 400 (Round 23 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 6th/2nd (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 6th (687 points, 129 out of first)
Winner: Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the way for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn by finishing second in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. This was Harvick’s fourth consecutive second-place finish at Michigan.
Harvick started sixth and ran in the top-five all day en route to his seventh top-five this season and his seventh top-five in 28 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan. It was also his 107th top-five finish in 489 career Sprint Cup starts.
“I have to thank Jimmy John’s, Budweiser, Outback, Chevrolet and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing for doing all they do,” Harvick said. “The guys did a great job. The No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) just had us beat today. He had a really fast car. My car handled great all day through the corners, but it just seemed like he had a little more speed than we did. All in all, it was a good day for us. We just have to keep clicking them away and keep being consistent, and the wins will come.”
Harvick came to pit road under green-flag conditions for the final time on lap 164, but his stop was quickly followed by three cautions on laps 169, 175 and 180. The No. 4 Chevrolet stayed out on the racetrack to conserve track position during each of the final three cautions. Harvick raced the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet from fourth to second during the final restart on lap 184 and held the second position for the final 16 laps.
“I didn’t have any trouble with my car sticking all day, and I could be really aggressive with the car through the corners,” Harvick explained. “But the No. 24 and the No. 22 kind of got jammed up a little bit there, and I was able to get a good run. The No. 22 tried to move up, but I was going to stay in the throttle one way or the other. We don’t have anything to lose at this point, and that was our only chance to have a win.”
Harvick had been in this position often during the 2014 season, with the No. 4 Jimmy John’s team finishing second in five races.
Harvick’s teammate Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 14th and finished 18th. It was Patrick’s 69th career Sprint Cup start and her fourth at Michigan.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 16th and finished 31st after getting into the outside retaining wall while battling for the lead late in the race. Busch led two times for three laps.
Jeff Burton, interim driver of SHR’s No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS as he subs for regular driver Tony Stewart, started 27th and finished 37th after spending time in the garage while the team replaced a broken tailpipe.
Jeff Gordon won the Pure Michigan 400 to score his 91st career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his third at Michigan.
Harvick finished 1.412 seconds behind Gordon in the runner-up spot, while Joey Logano, Paul Menard and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five. Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were eight caution periods for 37 laps, with four drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.
With round 23 of 36 complete, Harvick leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He is sixth with 687 points, 129 behind first-place Gordon. Busch is 23rd with 543 points, 273 out of first. Stewart is 25th with 537 points, 279 out of first. Patrick is 28th with 445 points, 371 out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with its prerace show at 7 p.m.