Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John's team earned a ninth-place finish, and clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, after battling a tight-handling condition during the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night. The California native started the 325-lap event from the 30th position and quickly worked his way toward the front of the field, picking up 11 positions on the first lap. During the initial green-flag run, Harvick informed the team he was battling a tight-handling Chevrolet. Crew chief Gil Martin directed his driver to pit road on lap 27 during a competition caution for four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Harvick was positioned 14th for the ensuing restart and climbed into the top 10 on lap 32. Running as high as third during the second portion of the race, the Martin-led pit crew made a final attempt to remedy the handling issues Harvick continued to battle on lap 289 by taking four tires, fuel and making a chassis adjustment. The Richard Childress Racing driver was scored fifth for the lap 292 restart and maintained a spot within the top 10 of the running order during the final laps, ultimately crossing the finish line ninth. Following the top-10 finish, Harvick moved up to third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"Obviously we're happy to be in the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup), but our day wasn't very good. Our car was just terribly tight all night long and drove nothing like it did in practice. We'll work on that and try to figure that out. But all-in-all, it's been an okay season so far and obviously you want to put yourself in position to race for the championship and everybody has done a good job doing that. So, we'll go to Richmond (International Raceway) next week and try to win another race. I come to this race track (Atlanta Motor Speedway) expecting to have a chance to win the race and we were off all night."