By taking the checkered flag in the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway Saturday night, Kevin Harvick became the first driver of the season with more than one win. He also became the first NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to win from pole position at Darlington since Dale Jarrett in 1997. In his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick won the 2014 The Profit on CNBC500, the second race of the season. This early-season victory was followed by a number of misfortunes for Harvick, include a hub failure at Las Vegas resulting in a 41st place finish; a cut oil line at Bristol resulting in a 39th place finish; a blown tire at Fontana resulting in a 36th place finish; and an engine failure at Texas resulting in a 42nd place finish.
While Harvick started the race in pole position, his win certainly wasn’t a done deal. After the 258th lap caution, Harvick reportedly decided to get four new tires on his next pit stop. Other drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson took two, giving them a slight time advantage which dropped Harvick to fifth position. By the time Kurt Busch wrecked on the 369th lap, resulting in another caution, Harvick had maneuvered his way into second position. Then, passing Earnhardt on the green-white-checker flag, Harvick held his first place position to the finish line, and it appears very likely that his decision to take four tires when he did helped him to victory.
With the new scoring structure, where ultimately victories have more value than points, Harvick is in the lead for a place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Jeff Gordon is in the lead with points, but remains eighth in the standings as he has not yet scored a win. The minimum requirement to qualify for the Chase is one trip to Victory Lane, so two such trips has a clear advantage for Harvick.
2014 Sprint Cup standings according to victories and points thus far (in order) are Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup race is the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 26.
Kevin Harvick earned his first victory with Stewart-Haas Racing on Sunday in The Profit on CNBC 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took second place followed by Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon in third, fourth and fifth places respectively. Starting the race in 13th position, Harvick moved his #4 Chevrolet into 5th position for a time before moving into second place just before the caution flag was given on lap 35. After taking the lead, it became evident that the victory would be Harvick’s and the other drivers were competing for 2nd place.
Harvick dominated both practice sessions on Saturday and was considered to be the favorite for Sunday’s race – and he didn’t disappoint. This was Harvick’s fifth win at Phoenix International Raceway, and his 24th in 468 career starts. Having moved to Stewart-Haas after 13 seasons with Richard Childress Racing, Harvick noted after the race that his victory “solidifies so many things and so many decisions”. He went on to say that the Stewart-Haas crew had put so much work, time and effort into the car, giving it his stamp of approval with an enthusiastic “What a race car”.
Kyle Busch dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, leading for 155 laps in a race that was cut short by 32 laps due to persistent rain. Commenting that he would have loved to have gone back out on the track to complete the race, Busch commended crew chief Adam Stevens and the rest of the crew for the work they do and the prime condition the #54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Kevin Harvick took second place, followed by Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth.
Meanwhile, NASCAR is reportedly still mulling over the issue of whether or not to limit participation by Sprint Cup Series drivers in the Nationwide and Truck Series. With the second race of the season over, it appears that no decision has been taken as yet. Some fans are of the opinion that Sprint Cup drivers should leave the so-called “developmental series” to drivers who are developing their skills. Kyle Busch is a case in point. As the owner of his own truck team, he competes in Nationwide and Truck series, and reportedly says he will continue to do so until the rules are changed.
The Quicken Loans 400 is the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup events held at Michigan International Speedway. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the 2012 event as part of the Hendrick Motorsports team. He was also the winner of the event in 2008. For more information visit nascar.com
Date: 16 June 2013
Venue: Michigan International Speedway
Country: United States
Reinforcing the fact that positions on a racetrack can change in the blink of an eye, the wreck involving Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano on the final lap of the NASCAR Auto Club 400 at Fontana on Sunday put Kyle Busch in the lead for his first Sprint Cup win of the 2013 season. It also shifted Dale Earnhardt Jr. into second place, putting him at the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with 199 points. Following his victory at Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, the Auto Club 400 victory on Sunday was Kyle Busch’s 25th NASCAR win.
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano made contact in the final lap of the Auto Club 400, sending Logano into the outside wall and Hamlin into the inside wall. Hamlin was initially attended to in an ambulance, but was airlifted to a hospital where he remained overnight for observation. In off the track drama, Tony Stewart reportedly confronted Logano following the race, most likely related to the fact that Logano had blocked Stewart out of a late restart, resulting in the Sprint Cup series champion finishing the Auto Club 400 in 22nd place. Earnhardt started in 15th place, working his way up the field, but dropping to 22nd place during the race, hampered by a slow pit stop, before making his way back to fourth place and ending in second place after the Hamlin and Logano wreck. /p>
The top ten in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings are:
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr – #88 Chevrolet – 199 points
2. Brad Keselowski – #2 Ford – 187 points
3. Jimmie Johnson – #48 Chevrolet – 183 points
4. Carl Edwards – #99 Ford – 164 points
5. Greg Biffle – #16 Ford – 164 points
6. Kyle Busch – #18 Toyota – 163 points
7. Kasey Kahne – #5 Chevrolet – 159 points
8. Paul Menard – #27 Chevrolet – 154 points
9. Joey Logano – #22 Ford – 146 points
10. Denny Hamlin – #11 Toyota – 145 points
Kicking off the season in style, the Daytona 500 carries the largest purse of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and is widely considered to be the season’s most prestigious race. Covering a distance of 500 miles, it is one of the four restrictor plate races on the Sprint Cup Series calendar and is a test of driver skill and endurance. Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag on Sunday, notching up his second Daytona 500 victory. Dale Earnhardt Jr. came in at second place, followed by Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman in third, fourth and fifth places respectively. After earning pole position for the race, Danica Patrick crossed the finish line in eighth place.
Restrictor plates are used at superspeedways (Talladega and Daytona) to slow cars down and have been the subject of much controversy as some drivers have expressed concern that the use of restrictor plates results in the field bunching up and thereby increasing the risk level of racing as top drivers try to pull away from the crowd. Fortunately, there were no major incidents at this year’s Daytona 500, maybe because drivers are well aware of the increased risk and remained huddled together for the first 180 laps. When Johnson pulled to the front, he clearly intended to stay there, and it was a close race between Johnson and Earnhardt. While Earnhardt made every effort to claim his second first place, with a little more than a mile to go, Earnhardt and third place winner Martin went low on the track. Johnson maneuvered his way to the front and took first place, closely followed by Earnhardt and veteran NASCAR driver Martin.
As the first woman to win pole position at the Daytona 500, Danica Patrick led three times in the race, finishing eighth and making NASCAR history, yet again, as the highest finish for a female driver at this exciting annual event. In a post-race interview Patrick noted that it was a “solid day” and was clearly pleased to have stayed in the top 10 through the race.