Too Fast for Bristol
Harvick Slowed by Pit Road Speeding Penalty To Finish 11th
Date: Aug. 23, 2014
Event: Irwin Tools Night Race (Round 24 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 1st/11th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (721 points, 124 out of first)
Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Kevin Harvick endured an up-and-down night in the Irwin Tools Night Race Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, and he was on his way back up when the checkered flag dropped. The driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) rallied from 16th to 11th in the final 63 laps of the 500-lap event, leaving Harvick one position short of a top-10.
Harvick started from the pole and led the first 37 laps of the race before Jeff Gordon made the pass for the lead. Harvick remained in the top-five and was chasing then-leader Denny Hamlin when the front end of the No. 4 Chevrolet made contact with Hamlin’s No. 11 car on lap 162. The contact caused Hamlin to spin into the inside retaining wall, ending his night, and allowed Harvick to retake the lead.
Harvick led the following 37 laps until bringing his car to pit road for four tires and fuel when the next caution came on lap 196. Differing pit strategies resulted in the No. 4 restarting 10th on lap 200. The Jimmy John’s Chevrolet driver methodically raced his way back through the field and returned to the second position by lap 271.
The Jimmy John’s team maintained its position racing in the top-10 until lap 432, when Harvick was issued a pit road speeding penalty as he came in for his final service of the night. The penalty dropped Harvick from seventh to 16th for the final restart on lap 437, but he raced his way from 16th up to 11th by the time the checkered flag dropped.
“We got a speeding penalty there at the end,” Harvick explained. “I knew I was close, but I tried to get everything I could on pit road and wound up biting us. I’m just proud of all the guys on the Jimmy John’s team. They did a good job. We raced hard all night and just made a mistake there on pit road speeding.”
Harvick led three times for a total 75 laps throughout the event.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the way for SHR Saturday by finishing fifth after starting seventh in the Irwin Tools Night Race. It was Busch’s sixth top-five this season and his eighth top-five in 28 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol. It was also his 106th top-five in 495 career Sprint Cup starts.
Jeff Burton, interim driver of SHR’s No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS as he subs for regular driver Tony Stewart, started 25th and finished 15th.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 24th and finished 27th.
Joey Logano won the Irwin Tools Night Race to score his sixth career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his first at Bristol.
Brad Keselowski finished .390 of a second behind Logano in the runner-up spot, while Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Busch rounded out the top-five. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were nine caution periods for 64 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish the 500-lap race.
With round 24 of 36 complete, Harvick leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He is seventh with 721 points, 124 behind first-place Jeff Gordon. Busch is 22nd with 582 points, 263 out of first. Stewart is 26th with 537 points, 308 out of first. Patrick is 28th with 462 points, 383 out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Oral-B USA 500 on Sunday, Aug. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its prerace show at 7 p.m.