Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Driver Scores Second-Place Finish in 57th Daytona 500
Date: Feb. 22, 2015
Event: 57th Daytona 500 (Round 1 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 11th/2nd (Running, completed 203 of 203 laps)
Winners: Joey Logano of Team Penske in a green-white-checkered finish (Ford)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the way for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Sunday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway by finishing second in the 57thrunning of the season-opening Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Harvick earned his seventh top-five in 28 career points-paying Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona.
Harvick started from the 11th position after finishing sixth in his Budweiser Duel on Thursday evening. The defending Sprint Cup Series champion raced consistently around the top-10 for the majority of the first 100 laps of the scheduled 200-lap event without incident. Following a caution just past the halfway point of the race, Harvick started to work his way to the front and by lap 122 found his way to second.
The No. 4 Chevrolet SS pitted for the final time on lap 152 under green-flag conditions and raced back into the top-five as the pit cycle completed. Crew chief Rodney Childers told Harvick that would be the final pit stop and to conserve fuel in the event of a green-white-checkered finish.
Harvick was racing in the sixth position when a two-car wreck occurred on the frontstretch to set up a green-white-checkered finish. After a nearly seven-minute red-flag period, the No. 4 team elected to stay out and restart sixth for the final three-lap dash. Harvick made a move from the top lane on the restart and raced his way to the second position, but he was unable to chase down race leader Joey Logano before an eight-car wreck on the backstretch forced the race to end under caution.
“Definitely, for us, it was a good solid day to start the season,” said Harvick, who won the Daytona 500 in 2007. “Obviously, you want to try to win the race, but sometimes you’re just happy to keep rolling and going out of here and head to (next week’s race at) Atlanta with a solid day.”
Regan Smith, interim driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 16th after starting at the back of the field since he did not qualify the car.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for SHR, finished 21st. She also had to start at the back of the field after crashing her primary racecar in the Budweiser Duel qualifying race on Thursday.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 42nd after an accident on lap 42.
Logano won the Daytona 500 to score his ninth career Sprint Cup victory and his first at Daytona.
Finishing third behind Logano and Harvick was Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five. Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 26 laps, with six drivers failing to finish the 203-lap race, which was extended three laps from its scheduled 200-lap distance by a green-white-checkered finish.
With round one of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR in the championship point standings. He is second with 42 points, five points behind first-place Logano. Patrick is 18th with 23 points, 24 points out of first. Stewart is 36th with two points, 45 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 Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, March 1, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at noon.