Jimmy John’s Driver Leads Sprint Cup Point Standings
Date: May 7, 2016
Event: Go Bowling 400 (Round 11 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 26th/2nd (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (390 points, 4 points ahead of second)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), battled from a 26th-place starting position to score a runner-up finish in Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. His runner-up finish marked his third top-two, fifth top-five and ninth top-10 in 11 races this season.
The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion recorded a sub-par qualifying session on Friday afternoon, but the Rodney Childers-led crew changed the setup of his No. 4 machine prior to the race. After the green flag waved, the team looked on as Harvick quickly charged into the top-five by lap 47.
The Bakersfield, California, native ran as high as fourth by the halfway point of the race, and he was racing in the third position when the caution flag waved on lap 235. He brought the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to pit road and came back on track in the fifth position as the first car on four new tires.
Following the lap-240 restart, Harvick was able to avoid a four-car accident immediately in front of him as he entered turn four. When the four cars moved up the racetrack, he drove low and moved into the fourth position before the caution flag waved.
Harvick stayed out under caution, holding the fourth spot on the outside with 19 laps remaining. He quickly raced his way to second on the restart and battled race-leader Kyle Busch hard in the closing laps. But Busch got the upper hand, crossing the finish line 1.112 seconds ahead of Harvick to secure the win.
“For whatever reason, I got tight,” said Harvick, who won the Sprint Cup race at Kansas in October 2013. “I hit a big piece of debris down there about six or seven laps into the run. From that point on I just got really tight. I’ve just got to thank everybody from this Stewart-Haas team, Jimmy John’s, Outback, Busch, Mobil 1, ditech, everybody from Chevrolet for everything that they do. We overhauled this thing this morning to try to get it close. They did a great job. It’s going to be a long week; we are going to go do some testing this week and have fun with it.”
Harvickled the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing contingent Saturday. It was also his fifth top-five and 10th top-10 finish in 21 career starts at Kansas.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS for SHR, started fourth and finished third. It was Busch’s third top-five and 10th top-10 this season, and his second top-five and seventh top-10 in 21 career Sprint Cup starts at Kansas. It was also his 231st top-10 in 551 career Sprint Cup starts.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 12th in just his third race back from injury for his second top-12 in a row. He led once for 12 laps during Saturday night’s race.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 23rd and finished 20th for her fourth top-20 of the season and her third in eight career starts at Kansas. She led once for two laps.
Kyle Busch won the Go Bowling 400 to score his 19th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his first at Kansas.
Harvick finished 1.112 seconds behind Busch in the runner-up spot, with Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top-five. Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were six caution periods for 30 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval.
With round 11 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR in the championship point standings with 390, four ahead of second-place Kyle Busch. Kurt Busch is fifth with 350 points, 40 points out of first. Patrick is 25th with 188 points, 202 out of first. Stewart is 37th with 87 points, and currently sits 59 points behind 30th-place Regan Smith. Stewart is hoping to win a race over the course of the next 17 races and make it within the top-30 in the standings in order to earn a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff in his final season.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the AAA 400 Drive for Autism on Sunday, May 15, at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.
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