JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Race 11 of 33: Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 200 laps
Weather: Sunny; 81 deg.
Race Winner: Austin Dillon
Harvick’s finish: 14th
An ill-timed caution with 40 laps to go in Saturday’s Hisense 300 caused the No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza team to go one lap down after pitting under green, off sequence from the rest of the lead pack. Driver Kevin Harvick was able to take a wave around and get his lap back, but that put him at the tail end of the lead-lap cars and he was only able to race back to a 14th-place finish in the closing laps.
Harvick qualified 13th and didn’t waste any time moving forward. He had the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy inside the top 10 by lap three. While reporting a loose handling condition on the No. 88 Camaro, he was still able to continue his forward drive, working his way to sixth on lap 26. After crew chief Dave Elenz called for the crew to make chassis and air pressure adjustments on the first pit stop, Harvick was satisfied with the car’s handling.
The two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) champion raced into the top five before the halfway mark. When two caution flags flew in quick succession, Elenz made the call for Harvick to stay out on the second caution, putting the No. 88 Chevy in the lead, although off sequence from the other leaders who came to pit road for tires and fuel. Harvick led for 11 laps before settling into third. The team made their final pit stop on lap 155 under green, and when a caution came out just five laps later, Harvick was caught one lap down. After taking the wave around, he restarted 16th, but reported that the final set of tires had made the car very loose and he was only able to make up two positions over the final 34-lap run to the checkered flag.
Austin Dillon earned his second NASCAR XFINITY Series victory of 2015. Dillon was followed to the stripe by Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith and Darrell Wallace Jr. JR Motorsports placed all four cars inside the top 15, with Chase Elliott finishing eighth.
Kevin Harvick, driver No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza team
“We obviously didn’t have the race we wanted. We’ve been fighting with the handling of our Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet all weekend, but during the middle of the race we had the car close to where it needed it to be. We never had the speed to keep up with the 33, but we may have been able to finish in the top five if we hadn’t caught those pit cycles wrong. I was way too loose on that last set of tires, so I never had a chance to work back through the field after we took the wave around. We need to find some speed in the car so that we can get ourselves back in the hunt.”