JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014
Race 26 of 33: Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Weather: Sunny, 56 degrees
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick stormed to another NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in Saturday’s Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. With his fourth win of the season, Harvick tied Brad Keselowski’s JR Motorsports record for most wins in a single season, previously set in 2009.
Racing the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet at his longtime sponsor’s home track, Harvick battled inside the top five all afternoon. For much of the race, Harvick ran methodically behind Kyle Busch, sizing up the No. 54 and working closely with crew chief Ernie Cope to fine tune the No. 5 car’s handling for the late laps.
The race-winning call came from Cope during a lap-152 caution. Knowing the team needed to pit one final time, Cope made the decision to give Harvick only fresh right-side tires while many drivers, including Busch, took four tires. The move allowed Harvick to restart fifth with Busch back in 16th.
Harvick quickly pounced on the front four cars after the lap-159 restart, taking the lead at lap 161. In the final 40 laps, Harvick never relinquished the lead again, pulling away to the victory by 2.108 seconds over Kyle Larson, Busch, Ryan Blaney and Trevor Bayne.
Kevin Harvick, driver No. 5 Jimmy John’s team
“This is pretty awesome to be able to come here and see all the activation and effort that Jimmy John’s put into the weekend. It’s the first time that we’ve ever won while they’re all at the race track. For them to be able to come to victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway, right in their backyard, is pretty awesome.
“Ernie Cope is the one that won the race today. He made a great call with two tires. The 54 (Kyle Busch) got buried in the field. I felt like, at that particular point, it was our race to lose. Our car actually ran faster on two tires than it did on four tires. I’m just really excited and feel like I learned a lot today.”