Kevin Harvick drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Camaro to a fifth-place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night. The two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion started the 200-lap event from the seventh position and remained a fixture in the top 10 during the early laps of the race. Harvick began to slip back in the field following a fuel-only pit stop under caution on lap 66 when several teams opted to take fresh tires. As the green-flag run progressed, Harvick's worn tires resulted in a loose-handling condition that caused him to fall back to 26th in the running order. When the caution flag was displayed on lap 93, crew chief Ernie Cope directed Harvick to pit road so the RCR pit crew could service the green and white Chevrolet with four tires, fuel and make a round of chassis adjustments to combat the handling issues the driver was facing. Harvick was scored in the 23rd position for the ensuing restart and worked his way toward the front of the field, returning to the top 10 by lap 108. The RCR driver climbed as high as third in the running order, but ultimately crossed the finish line in the fifth position.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"Man, what a race. For a while there I didn't think we were going to finish as well as we did. We struggled a bit tonight trying to find the right setup for the the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet, we started the race way too tight and we were too loose at the end. I really got concerned following that fuel only pit stop in the middle of the race when we fell so far back in the pack. The tires were worn out and the car was so loose that I wasn't sure we were going to be able to recover, but the team worked hard to get me moving in the right direction and we were to get a decent result."