Jimmy John’s Driver Finishes 20th in First Race of Chase
Date: Sept. 18, 2016
Event: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 (Round 27 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 4th/20th (Running, completed 269 of 270 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (2,027 points, 23 points out of first)
Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row (Toyota) in overtime
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), kicked off his 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup bid with a 20th-place finish on Sunday in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.
Harvick was set to start fourth after rain cancelled Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday afternoon and the field was set according to the NASCAR rulebook. However, an unapproved adjustment prior to the start of the race forced the No. 4 team to start at the back of the 40-car field.
The 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion raced his way from the rear of the field up to seventh in the first 48 laps of the race. On lap 49 Harvick brought the No. 4 Chevrolet to pit road for a green-flag pit stop. As his crew was servicing the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, the caution flag waved, causing Harvick to fall a lap down when leader Martin Truex Jr. crossed the start-finish line inches ahead of the No. 4 car as it exited its pit box.
Restarting 21st on lap 55, Harvick continued to have one of the fastest cars on the racetrack, but he was unable to regain the lost lap and crossed the finish line in 20th as the third car one lap down.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car SHR contingent at Chicagoland by finishing 13th.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 16th.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery/April O’Neil Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 24th.
Truex won the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 to score his sixth career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his first at Chicagoland.
Joey Logano finished .776 of a second behind Truex in the runner-up spot, while Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five. Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Alex Bowman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 22 laps around the 1.5-mile oval with all 40 drivers finishing the 270-lap race, which went into overtime and finished three laps beyond its scheduled distance.
Kurt Busch, Stewart and Harvick are representing SHR in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and they entered the first race of the 10-race, 16-driver Chase seeded 12th, 11th and fourth, respectively, in the Round of 16. Busch leaves Chicagoland in 10th with a four-point margin over 13th place. Stewart is 12th with only a single point separating him from 13th. Harvick is 14th, one point out of the top-12. Following the third race of the Chase at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, only those Chase drivers who have won a race or are among the top-12 in points will advance to the Round of 12.
With two races remaining before the Round of 12 begins, the top-16 drivers competing for the title rank as follows:
Martin Truex Jr. (2,050 points) 1 win
Brad Keselowski (2,049 points) +22 points
Kyle Busch (2,046 points) +19 points
Denny Hamlin (2,045 points) +18 points
Joey Logano (2,043 points) +16 points
Chase Elliott (2,039 points) +12 points
Matt Kenseth (2,038 points) +11 points
Jimmie Johnson (2,037 points) +10 points
Carl Edwards (2,032 points) +5 points
Kurt Busch (2,031 points) +4 points
Jamie McMurray (2,030 points) +3 points
Tony Stewart (2,028 points) +1 point
Austin Dillon (2,027 points) -1 point
Kevin Harvick (2,027 points) -1 point
Kyle Larson (2,026 points) -2 points
Chris Buescher (2,016 points) -12 points
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the second race of the Chase – is the Sept. 25 New England 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.