JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Race 13 of 33: Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway
Track Specs: 2-mile D-shaped oval / 125 laps
Weather: Cloudy; 73 deg.
Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Harvick’s finish: 6th
Kevin Harvick attempted a dramatic late-race pass for the win, but couldn’t quite make the No. 88 Morton Buildings Chevrolet stick on the bottom and ended Saturday’s Great Clips 250 with a sixth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway. The result marked his eighth top-10 finish in 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) starts at the two-mile oval and his fifth top 10 in seven races in 2015.
The driver of the No. 88 Chevy started seventh but moved quickly into the top five. Harvick and crew chief Dave Elenz worked together on the radio to develop a solid pit strategy for the 125-lap event, which saw a total of eight caution periods over its duration. The Morton Buildings Camaro picked up a tight handling condition early in the race, but adjustments on the first pit stop seemed to help and Harvick was able to stay up front.
Restarts were a factor during the caution-filled event and starting in the preferred outside lane was an advantage the No. 88 didn’t frequently enjoy. Harvick also battled a tight racecar throughout much of the race, but he was able to make the most of it and keep the Morton Buildings Chevy near the front and the ever-important clean air.
Harvick lined up on the inside in the third position for the final restart on lap 115. He made a move underneath race-leader Joey Logano, but got loose and had to chase the car up the racetrack, affecting both drivers. They were able to avoid incident, but lost a lot of ground and Harvick was relegated back to 12th with just a handful of laps remaining. The veteran was able to work his way back up to sixth by the time he took the checkered flag. Harvick’s effort helped to propel the No. 88 team back up to third in the NXS owners standings, trailing the current standings leader, Penske’s No. 22 team, by 51 points.
Kyle Busch led the field across the stripe, followed by Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher and Elliott Sadler.
Kevin Harvick, driver No. 88 Morton Buildings team
“The restarts were pretty crazy all day. It was one of those deals where you had to push and shove to make up ground. The bottom was tough. I haven’t seen a replay of that last restart, but I knew I had a huge push and it was getting toward the end of the race, so I figured it was time to drive it down in there and I just got loose underneath Joey [Logano]. I tried to chase it up the track and got into him. Not intentional, by any means, I just didn’t let my foot out of the throttle trying to go for the win there at the end. I have to thank all of my Morton Buildings guys for everything they’ve done on these JR Motorsports cars this weekend.”