Harvick, Jimmy John's Team Notch First Top Five of the Season
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John's Chevrolet team rebounded from trouble on pit road and an early race spin to finish fourth in Sunday's Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Harvick started the race in 17th position and soon found himself in the top 10 within 32 laps. A slow pit stop three laps later left Harvick mired back in 21st position. On lap 58, cars at the front of the field made contact and as Harvick attempted to slow down, the No. 5 car made contact with the No. 29 Chevrolet, which sent Harvick spinning and damaged the No. 29 car's left-rear quarter panel. The team pitted multiple times under the caution period to repair the damage and he restarted 31st.
Shortly after the field took the green, the caution flag waved yet again as 14 cars were involved in a big wreck on the backstretch. Harvick made it through the carnage without any additional damage to the No. 29 Chevrolet. The race was red flagged for 14 minutes to clean up the track and Harvick restarted in 14th position when the field took the green flag on lap 72. Fast work by the No. 29 pit crew gained Harvick six positions on pit road at lap 128, moving him up to the fifth spot. He remained in the top six as green flag pit stops started at lap 184. Harvick was credited with leading a lap as the field cycled through pit stops and was back in fifth position when the caution flag waved on lap 218. Another fast stop by the No. 29 crew put Harvick in third position at lap 225. The No. 29 Chevrolet remained in the top four until the next round of green-flag stops. A couple of the other teams elected to take only two tires during that sequence of stops, while the No. 29 team changed all four. That, combined with a problem on the right-front during the stop, dropped Harvick back to sixth position when the caution flag waved at lap 285. The field took the green at lap 290 and in the closing laps Harvick raced his way up to fourth position.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: "First off, I have to thank everybody from Jimmy John's, Budweiser and Chevrolet and everybody from RCR for everything they do. We had a weird day. We wrecked once and about wrecked again and then got into it with a couple of cars and caved in both front fenders. I wish we could have raced the car and not been torn up. All-in-all, everything went well. This is what we expect every week. Everybody on this No. 29 team does a good job, and we know how we need to race. The guys on the pit crew did a great job on pit road for the most part of the day. Once they get that consistency down of working with each other on a week-to-week basis, they're going to be hard to beat. It was a great day for everybody on our team. They did a great job. I think I got into a couple little bang ups and we got ourselves behind. In the end we were able to keep the fenders off the tires and get a top-five finish. So, it was a great day for us."