Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Driver Scores First Win of 2015
Date: March 8, 2015
Event: Kobalt 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 18th/1st (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 1st with 134 points
Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick delivered a dominant performance in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, scoring his first win of the 2015 season and his first win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Once again, Harvick’s No. 4 car lived up to sponsor Jimmy John’s “freaky fast” motto as Harvick led a race-high five time for 142 laps en route to his 29th career win in 505 career starts and his third in the last six races dating back to Texas Motor Speedway in November. This was Harvick’s sixth straight finish of second or better. The last time a driver had six consecutive top-two finishes was Jeff Gordon in 1996.
“It’s so cool to win here in Las Vegas and start this West Coast swing off this way is pretty awesome. Just to be in front of all these fans I’ve raced in front of since about the mid-‘90’s. It’s pretty special to win here. I’ve got to thank Jimmy John’s, Budweiser, Chevrolet, and everybody on this car that makes it go around; and all these guys and everyone at Stewart-Haas for what they do.”
After starting 18th, Harvick wasted no time cutting through traffic to get to the front of the field. In the early stages of the race, Harvick noted that his No. 4 machine was too loose. But under the competition caution at lap 25, Harvick’s pit crew changed four tires and made wedge and air pressure adjustments to help tighten up his car.
Harvick restarted the race in 15th-place. It didn’t take long for crew chief Rodney Childers’ four-tire strategy to pay off. At lap 41, Harvick had moved into the top 10 and was sitting in the seventh spot. By lap 60, Harvick had moved into the top-five in fourth-place.
Harvick gave up his second-place spot at lap 77 for a green flag pit stop where he took four fresh tires, fuel and the crew made another wedge adjustment. He returned to the track in fifth-spot, but just a handful of laps later at lap 91, Harvick took over the top spot for the first time.
Once in the lead, Harvick really never looked back, dominating the rest of the field. Despite having to battle with a loose-handling racecar in the final stages of the race, Harvick was able to maintain his lead and drive on to the win.
“We just have to keep our heads down and keep doing everything that we've been doing,” Harvick said. “This isn't a bunch of guys that are just going to go out and brag. We're going to race every week like we have never won a race before. That's the kind of determination that you need when you are going to do this stuff.”
The win was the 26th point-paying Sprint Cup win for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s first this season.
Regan Smith, interim driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 34th and finished 16th.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 21st and finished 27th. It was Patrick’s 85th career Sprint Cup start and her third at Las Vegas.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 12th and finished 33rd.
Martin Truex Jr. finished 1.64 seconds behind Harvick in the runner-up spot, while Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five. AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were six caution periods for 28 laps, with one driver failing to finish the 267-lap race.
With round three of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR in the championship point standings. He is first with 134 points. Patrick is 20th with 68 points, 66 points out of first. Stewart is 34th with 27 points, 107 points out of first. Smith didn’t accumulate any points because he is a fulltime driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the CampingWorld.com 500 on Sunday, March 15 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 3 p.m.