Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Driver Scores 13th Top-Five Finish of 2015
Date: July 19, 2015
Event: New Hampshire 301 (Round 19 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 12th/3rd (Running, completed 301 of 301 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (734 points, 69 points ahead of second)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished third in the New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Sunday afternoon. It was Harvick’s 13th top-five finish and 17th top-10 in 19 Sprint Cup starts in 2015.
The defending Sprint Cup champion started Sunday’s race from the 12th position and raced his way up to second just past the halfway point. Harvick was racing in the sixth position when debris brought out the caution flag on lap 189. The top four cars came to pit road for routine service, while Harvick stayed out and restarted in second alongside Brad Keselowski. Harvick quickly raced to the lead, where he stayed for 59 laps until a caution for fluid on the racetrack came out on lap 252.
Harvick brought the Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet to pit road under caution on lap 254 for a four-tire stop. Several others opted for two-tire stops, and Harvick returned to the racetrack in the seventh position as the second car with four fresh tires. He raced the No. 4 Chevrolet up to third by the white-flag lap, which was run to the finish under caution after a last-lap accident.
“I think we had the right strategy, just a little miscue on the last pit stop,” said Harvick, who scored his seventh top-five and 15th top-10 finish in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at Loudon. “Our guys have done great all year. They did great today. It just took me a little longer to get around a couple of those cars, and I lost the track position. I just have to thank everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet for everything they do. We were off on Friday and we were able to really rebound and have a good Saturday and good racecar today. It’s encouraging for two months.”
Harvick’s third-place finish led the four-car SHR contingent Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He led 59 laps to bring his season total to 1,284 laps led. Harvick has only led more laps than that in a single season once – in 2014 when he led 2,137 laps en route to the Sprint Cup championship. Harvick has led a lap in 15 of the 19 Sprint Cup races contested in 2015.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 10th to earn his 12th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire and his 11th top-10 this season.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 20th. It was his eighth top-20 this season.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 24th. It was her 13th top-25 of the year.
Kyle Busch won the New Hampshire 301 to score his 32nd career Sprint Cup victory, his third this season and his second at New Hampshire.
Brad Keselowski finished second, while Harvick, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five. Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 34 laps, with only one driver failing to finish the 301-lap race around the 1.058-mile oval.
With round 19 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR in the championship point standings. He is first with 734 points, 69 ahead of second-place Logano. Busch is eighth with 576 points, 158 out of first. With two wins apiece, teammates Harvick and Busch are locked into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Patrick is 22nd with 416 points, 84 out of 16th, the cutoff position to make the 16-driver Chase field on points. Stewart is 26th with 366 points, 134 out of 16th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Jeff Kyle 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 26. The 22nd running of the event begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC Sports Network.