Broken Part Prevents Jimmy John’s Driver from Contending for the Win
Date: Oct. 2, 2016
Event: Citizen Soldier 400 (Round 29 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
Start/Finish: 6th / 37th (Running, completed 354 of 400 laps)
Points: 3,000 points – Advances to Round of 12 in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 37th on Sunday in the Citizen Soldier 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Harvick was running in third place when the mount for the No. 4’s rear track bar broke and punctured a tire, effectively eliminating any chance to contend for the win.
Harvick started sixth but quickly jumped to fifth at the drop of the green flag. A mere 20 laps later he was in third and turning laps on par with the race leader.
A competition caution was slated for lap 40, but the track-bar problems for Harvick negated that on lap 35. The No. 4 Chevy started smoking due to the punctured tire, and NASCAR displayed the caution. After assessing the situation on pit road, crew chief Rodney Childers directed Harvick to the garage, where the team quickly went to work.
The team spent the next 43 laps in the garage making repairs, and Harvick was able to rejoin the field on lap 79 in 40th place. Despite the setback, Harvick and company used the rest of the race as a test session, displaying speed in line with that of the race leaders. Thanks to a fast racecar and the attrition of other cars, Harvick finished the race in 37th.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Nature’s Bakery Brownie/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, led the way for SHR on Sunday by finishing 13th.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 15th.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 28th.
Stewart, Busch and Harvick came into Dover as members of the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Dover, however, served as an elimination race, with the four lowest Chase drivers not advancing to the Round of 12.
Harvick moved on to the Round of 12 by virtue of his win Sept. 25 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Busch earned his way into the Round of 12 as his point tally during the Round of 16 put him solidly among the top-12. Stewart just missed advancing into the Round of 12; he fell 11 points short of breaking into the top-12. Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray and Chris Buescher were the three other Chase drivers who failed to advance.
Joining Harvick and Busch in the Round of 12 are Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Austin Dillon. All had their respective point tallies reset to 3,000.
Three races will be run in the Round of 12, with the next cutoff coming after the Oct. 23 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, whereupon the Chase field shrinks to eight. Another three races will be run in the Round of 8, where after the Nov. 13 race at Phoenix International Raceway, only four drivers will advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship Round Nov. 20 in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Truex won the Citizen Soldier 400 to score his seventh career Sprint Cup victory, his fourth of the season and his second at Dover.
Kyle Busch finished 7.527 seconds behind Truex in the runner-up spot, while Elliott, Keselowski and Kenseth rounded out the top-five. Logano, Johnson, Dillon, Hamlin and Jeff Gordon comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 22 laps with two drivers failing to finish the 400-lap race around the 1-mile, concrete oval.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the fourth race of the Chase – is the Oct. 8 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC.