JR Motorsports Race Report
Friday, Sept. 5, 2014
Race 25 of 33: Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway
Track Specs: .75-mile D-shaped oval
Weather: Fair, 77 degrees
Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Harvick’s Finish: 3rd
Kevin Harvick continued his brilliance in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition this season with a third-place finish in Friday night’s Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway. It was Harvick’s 10th top-five finish in 12 starts this season and his 22nd consecutive top-10 effort in the series.
From the drop of the green flag, Harvick’s No. 5 Armour Vienna Sausages Chevrolet moved forward from the team’s 15th-place starting position. By lap 16, Harvick had cracked the top 10. Another 23 laps later, the two-time series champion was in the top five. Despite making his moves appear easy, Harvick was battling an extremely loose race car.
After adjustments on the team’s first pit stop, Harvick radioed his crew the loose condition had only intensified; however, he continued to climb up the leaderboard. He worked his way past teammate Chase Elliott for third at lap 158 and overtook Ryan Blaney for second several laps later.
Finally having the track position he needed, Harvick set his sights on leader Kyle Busch after a lap-168 pit stop. Unfortunately for Harvick, his car’s strength compared to Busch’s No. 54 was longer green-flag runs. Having dropped more than three seconds behind Busch in the first 40 laps of a late stint, Harvick began clawing his way back towards the lead when the race’s final caution at lap 226 slowed the field and presented teams a final chance to hit pit road.
With only 18 laps to go, Harvick restarted second with Busch as the leader and Elliott lined up third, but could not hold off Elliott on the restart. As laps dwindled away, Harvick could not challenge Busch or Elliott and took the checkered flag third.
Busch led the entire 250-lap race for his fourth win of the season followed by Elliott, Harvick, Blaney and Brian Scott.
Kevin Harvick, driver No. 5 Armour Vienna Sausages team
“It was a unique race. I never thought I’d be rim riding around Richmond International Raceway. The guys on the Armour Chevy fought hard all night. We just didn’t have what we needed all weekend. I felt like if it would have went green there, we still had a shot to win. That’s what you’ve got to do. On the weekends where you feel like you don’t have it, you’ve got to keep at it and everybody did a great job.”