KANSAS CITY (Oct. 9, 2011) — Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) co-owner Kevin Harvick returned to the driver’s seat of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Impala Saturday afternoon as the NASCAR Nationwide Series made their way to Kansas Speedway. Harvick started the Kansas Lottery 300 from the 19th position and made multiple trips to pit road with splitter and handling issues before crossing the finish line sixth.
As the field came up to full speed, the action was slowed on lap five for a two-car incident in turn two. The No. 4 KHI team elected to stay on track, restarting on lap eight in the 19th position.
Back under green-flag conditions, Harvick began to work his way forward moving into the 13th position by lap 14. Battling an increasingly tight-handling car, the veteran driver continued to move forward and into the top 10 by lap 28. Harvick maintained his 10th-place position but relayed that the tightness of the No. 4 was becoming more difficult to handle.
Crew chief Bruce Cook instructed his driver to pit, and as Harvick drove down pit road, NASCAR officials waved the yellow flag a second time for debris on lap 41. Harvick continued down pit road without stopping, driving back on to the track to maintain his position on the lead lap. When pit road re-opened, Harvick steered into the No. 4 pit box for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. The KHI team sent their driver back on track to restart the race on lap 44 in the 20th position.
Green-flag racing continued, and the Bakersfield, Calif., native worked his way into the 17th spot on lap 57 and remained in the position until the caution flag was displayed for a third time on lap 62 for debris. During the caution, the team made two visits to pit road to replace a portion of the splitter that had worn off during the first quarter of the race. During the stops the team also filled the car with fuel leaving the No. 4 Chevrolet to restart 25th on lap 65.
Back on track, Harvick settled into the 24th spot and went one lap down to the leader as the caution flag waved for the fourth time on lap 88 for oil on the track. The No. 4 was the first car one lap down and was awarded the Lucky Dog to receive his lap back for the restart. During the caution the team made three pit stops and worked diligently to fix the splitter. The team also put on four tires and filled the car with fuel during their visits to pit road, positioning Harvick in 24th when the field returned to green-flag racing on lap 95.
Under green-flag conditions, Harvick muscled his way around the 1.5-mile track moving into the top 10 by lap 120. Green-flag pit stops were nearing when the fifth caution of the day fell on lap 143 for oil on the track. The No. 4 Chevrolet made its way down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The quick stop placed Harvick in the ninth position for the lap 148 restart.
Harvick worked to maintain the 10th position as the laps continued to tick away. With 40 laps remaining in the race, the driver reported that the car was becoming loose in the turns. The sixth and final caution of the event fell on lap 175 for a single-car accident in turn two, providing an opportunity for the No. 4 team to make the needed chassis adjustments and add four fresh tires and fuel.
Harvick headed back on track in the eighth position for the final restart on lap 178. The KHI co-owner battled throughout the final laps to cross the finish line sixth.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will head to Charlotte Motor Speedway next Friday, October 14 for the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage. Catch the action live on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. and PRN at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Thoughts from the Driver:
“I couldn’t be any prouder of my team now than if we had won the race. We had a tough weekend, and these guys just kept working and got the job done. To finish in the top 10 with the car we started the weekend off with is an amazing thing. I have to thank Hunt Brothers Pizza, Rheem, OneMain Financial, Budweiser, Chevrolet and Champion for all of their support of this No. 4 Nationwide team.”