Harvick Earns Best Finish of Season at Bristol
Third-Place Drive in Food City 500 Gives Jimmy John’s Pilot Back-to-Back
Date: April 24, 2017
Event: Food City 500 (Round 8 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (125 laps/125 laps/250 laps)
Start/Finish: 10th/3rd (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 9th (239 points, 121 out of first)
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended on Lap 125):
● Kevin Harvick started 10th, finished 12th.
● Enjoyed a good start, picking up three spots to rise to seventh.
● Saying he needed more rear grip, Harvick dropped back to ninth prior to a caution on lap 54.
● Harvick took four tires and fuel with a left-rear wedge adjustment on lap 60.
● On a lap-72 restart, Harvick got stuck on inside lane behind slower cars and fell to 14th.
● Rallied to 12th before end of stage despite his Jimmy John’s Ford being tight off the corners.
● Pitted at end of stage for another four-tire stop with another left-rear wedge adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended on Lap 250):
● Started 12th, finished fourth, earning seven bonus points.
● Rose to sixth by lap 200.
● Caution on lap 210 allowed Harvick to pit on lap 211 for four tires and fuel with another left-rear wedge adjustment.
● Restarted in sixth on lap 217 and made most of restart to climb to third.
● At end of stage, Harvick said, “Front (of car) is ok, back just needs more rear grip all the way through (the corners).”
● Pitted for four tires and fuel at end of stage with only change being a slight tire pressure adjustment.
Final Stage Recap (Ended on Lap 500):
● Started sixth, finished third.
● Jumped to second place when race went green for final stage, battling with Kyle Larson for position.
● Dropped to sixth by lap 330 and was eighth with 100 laps to go.
● Caution period on lap 420 provided opportunity to get four new tires and fuel. Harvick came out of pits in fifth place for lap-428 restart.
● Harvick said his Jimmy John’s Ford was good and that he just needed track position.
● When final caution of race came out on lap 463, Harvick stayed out and inherited the lead.
● Harvick led the next 14 laps but was passed for the top spot by Jimmie Johnson on lap 480.
● Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer passed Harvick for second with 15 laps to go.
● Harvick held off Larson and then Matt Kenseth to finish third.
● Harvick’s third-place finish in the Food City 500 was his best result so far this season and his second-straight top-four finish. Harvick finished fourth in the last Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race two weeks at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
● This is Harvick’s 12th top-five in 33 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol and his 156th top-five in 581 career Cup Series starts.
● This is Harvick’s fourth top-10 this season.
● Harvick led once for 14 laps to bring his laps-led total at Bristol to
876 and season laps-led total to 433.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 76 laps.
● Fifteen drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Jimmie Johnson’s Food City 500 victory was his 82nd career NASCAR Cup Series win, his second of the season and his second at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Clint Bowyer was 1.199 seconds.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I thought our Jimmy Johns Ford was the fastest car. We just needed track position. I think we showed how fast it was there on no tires and kind of able to hold our own. You just never know where you’re going to come out on those restarts. I felt like we had a couple cautions and we were in control of the race with the 11 (Denny Hamlin) on two tires and we might’ve had a chance. A good weekend and we’ll just keep going.
“I think the track evolved really well. It started off a little shaky the first 125 laps or so, but once it got running, I thought it was really racy.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Richmond 400 on Sunday, April 30 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.