JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014
Race 29 of 33: Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees
Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Harvick’s Finish: 2nd
Kevin Harvick led a race-high 47 laps on his way to a runner-up finish in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. The effort gave Harvick a career-best 24th-consecutive top-10 finish in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition dating back to last season.
The two-time series champion wasted little time charging from his fourth-place starting position to the lead by lap 18. After a series of pit stops, Harvick and the No. 5 Morton Buildings team found themselves shuffled down the leaderboard to ninth and searching to regain track position on the narrow 1.5-mile tri-oval. Seeing that advancing from ninth would be a difficult task, crew chief Ernie Cope chose to call Harvick to pit road at lap 91 to try putting the No. 5 on a different pit sequence from other leaders. The move dropped Harvick to 19th.
After a lengthy green-flag stint, Harvick took over the lead when other cars had to hit pit road. One lap prior to Harvick’s scheduled green-flag pit stop, a fortuitous caution flag slowed the field with Harvick as the leader and everyone else trapped one lap down. The caution allowed Harvick to pit for four fresh tires and maintain the lead. After 10 cars rejoined the lead lap via the free pass and wave arounds, Harvick led the field to a restart with 48 laps remaining.
Harvick maintained the lead ahead of Kyle Busch as the two veteran drivers waged an intense battle for the top spot in the late laps. Busch’s No. 54 car was able to bypass the No. 5 on lap 180 and cruise to his sixth victory of the season with Harvick second and Ryan Blaney third.
Kevin Harvick, driver No. 5 Morton Buildings team
“Kyle (Busch) was just a little bit faster as we got towards the end. I couldn’t get the front to turn and then it would slide the back up off the corner. I’m proud of my Morton Buildings guys. We struggled as we went through practice this weekend. They gave us a chance to at least have a chance there towards the end of the race with a good pit call. We did all we could do and just came up a little bit short today.”