JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Race 19 of 33: Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile oval
Weather: Cloudy, 81 degrees
Race Winner: Ty Dillon
Harvick’s Finish: 4th
Oftentimes in racing, the fastest car does not win. Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, that car was Kevin Harvick’s No. 5 Morton Buildings Chevrolet and he finished fourth after leading a race-high 33 laps. The finish marks Harvick’s eighth top-five result in nine NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this season.
Harvick established himself as the man to beat early. He whipped his matte black Chevrolet to the inside of a three-wide battle on the opening lap to move from fourth to second. He was a little more diligent taking his time to bypass Matt Kenseth for the lead at lap nine. From there, the No. 5 set sail, pulling out to a three-second advantage before the first caution at lap 16.
Despite falling to fifth because of varying pit strategies from other teams under the caution, Harvick found himself back in the top spot several laps later. At one point, the No. 5 car held a 10-second lead over its nearest competitor.
The race took a turn under a caution at lap 56. Harvick sat third behind Joey Logano and Kyle Busch, who were using very different pit strategies. Crew chief Ernie Cope and Harvick debated for several minutes on their plan of action. The decision was to remain on track while many others, including Logano, Busch and eventual winner Ty Dillon came to pit road. Cope called Harvick in for his final pit stop several laps later at lap 67 once the team was sure they’d have enough fuel to make the 100-lap distance. The move dropped Harvick back to 16th. Knowing he’d be mired in traffic without an optimal tire situation, Harvick elected to pit once again for four fresh tires under a debris caution at lap 72.
Harvick restarted 17th with only 24 laps remaining. From there, he put on a show, gaining five spots on the initial lap after the green flag and another four spots by lap 82. The No. 5 continued climbing the leaderboard as laps dwindled away, making its way into the top five at lap 87.
In the end, Harvick charged to fourth, but ran out of laps to catch Dillon, Busch and Kenseth, who stretched their fuel to the checkered flag.
Kevin Harvick, driver No. 5 Morton Buildings team
“The strategy just threw everything way off. I’ve got to thank everybody from JR Motorsports and Morton Buildings for giving us the fastest car in the field. We just didn’t capitalize on it.”