Short Night for Harvick at Daytona

Post-Race Reports | NASCAR Cup Series | 07/03/16

Busch Beer Driver Collected in 22-Car Wreck, Finishes 39th

Date: July 2, 2016

Event: Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (Round 17 of 36)

Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)

Start/Finish: 21st/39th (Running, completed 89 of 161 laps)

Point Standing: 1st (565 points, 14 points ahead of second)

Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 39th after he was collected in a 22-car wreck on lap 90 in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Harvick started 21st but immediately dropped to the rear of the field as he worked on the handling of the No. 4 Chevrolet SS. He was racing in the 39th position as the competition caution flew on lap 20. Following the restart, Harvick again drifted to the rear of the field in hopes of perfecting the handling of his car and staying out of any potential trouble.

As green-flag pit stops started on lap 65, Harvick remained on the racetrack long enough to take the lead on lap 68 and earn a bonus point. He brought the Busch Beer Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and adjustments under green-flag conditions on the following lap.

The Bakersfield, California, native was collected in a 22-car wreck that occurred just in front of him on lap 98 and was forced to the garage for repairs. After reviewing the damage, crew chief Rodney Childers informed the team that the racecar was damaged beyond repair. Harvick and the Busch Beer Chevrolet were scored with a 39th-place finish.

“Our Busch Chevrolet started in the middle of the pack and dropped to the back and as we pitted there, and we knew we wanted to work our way back to the front,” said Harvick, who won the Sprint Cup race at Daytona in July 2010. “We stayed connected to that front pack, and then we had a little bit of a handling problem that we had to address during the next pit stop. Those guys got tangled up there in front, and we were in the middle of it. We had one car on our roof, and everybody else just kept piling in. I don’t know who that was. It was just one of those things that just doesn’t take much for it all to go south here at these superspeedways. It is what it is.”

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car SHRcontingent Saturday night at Daytona by finishing 23rd.

Busch was running fourth on the race’s final restart with two laps to go in overtime and was fighting for the win when he was hit from behind and sent sliding across the infield grass toward the finish line, which he crossed as the final car on the lead lap.

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 26th after an accident with 13 laps to go. He led one lap on the night. Despite his misfortune, Stewart moved into the top-30 in the driver standings by a three-point margin over 31st-place Brian Scott. If Stewart can remain in the top-30 through the 26th race of the season, he will secure his spot in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff by virtue of his victory last week at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, salvaged a 27th-place finish, 31 laps down, after being involved in a multicar accident just past the race’s midpoint.

Brad Keselowski won the Coke Zero 400 to score his third victory of the season and his 20th in 250 career Sprint Cup starts.

Keselowski finished .159 of a second ahead of runner-up Kyle Busch, while Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top-five. Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were five caution periods for 28 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 161-lap race, which went into overtime and was extended by one lap.

With round 17 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR and the series in the championship standings. He is first with 565 points, 14 ahead of Keselowski, who moved into second place with his first victory at Daytona.

Kurt Busch dropped to third with 545 points, 20 behind leader Harvick.

Harvick earned a spot in the Chase via his win March 13 at Phoenix International Raceway, and Busch secured his position via his win June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

Patrick is 26th with 302 points, 93 ahead of 31st-place Brian Scott. Like Stewart, if Patrick can win a race and finish among the top-30 in points following the 26th race of the season, she will earn a Chase berth.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Saturday, July 9, at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. NBCSN will broadcast the race starting at 7 p.m. EDT.

 – TSC –

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