AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 22) -- REESE'S Racing driver Kevin Harvick survived a record-breaking 14 caution periods under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway to finish fourth, which is his sixth top-five in as many Busch Series...
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 22) -- REESE'S Racing driver Kevin Harvick survived a record-breaking 14 caution periods under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway to finish fourth, which is his sixth top-five in as many Busch Series starts.
"We had a really fast car today," Harvick said. "It started out a little tight, but once the sun went down, we were in really good shape. I really had a lot of fun driving under the lights today. When you start complaining about a fourth-place finish, you know everything is going good."
The REESE'S Racing team has moved back into second place in Owners' Points, with 178 points separating it from Edwards' team.
Harvick started the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 in the seventh spot. At the drop of the green flag, Harvick began his battle with Carl Edwards for the sixth position. Edwards finally relinquished the sixth spot to Harvick on lap 21.
A native of Bakersfield, Calif., Harvick remained in the sixth spot until he committed a miscue on pit road, pitting under caution before pit road was open. As a result, NASCAR officials sent Harvick to the tail end of the lead lap.
"I thought pit road was open," Harvick said. "I am not really sure what I was thinking, but you can't see the pit road light until you enter pit road at Phoenix. I was already heading down pit road when I realized it was closed."
After the miscue on pit road, Harvick restarted the race in the 32nd spot. This was one place Harvick didn't want to be since most of the accidents were occurring among participants at the back of the field. This proved to be true again when Harvick showed his veteran driving skills to avoid a crash on lap 55, which brought out the fifth caution flag of the day.
On lap 72 of 200, the sixth caution flag flew over Phoenix International Raceway. Harvick and crew chief Rick Viers decided to do the opposite of the leaders and bring the REESE'S Chevrolet down pit road to help with track position. This strategy paid off for Harvick. With 72 laps remaining, Harvick was back in the top-10.
The REESE'S Racing team brought the No. 21 Chevy down pit road on lap 109 for its final pit stop of the day. Once Harvick returned to the track, he told his team it did an awesome job, and it was one of the fastest pit stops of the year. The speed of the pit stop also helped Harvick move in on the leaders.
"My crew guys did such a great job today," Harvick said. "The final pit stop was awesome. They worked hard all day, and without their help, I never would have finished fourth today."
With 40 laps remaining, Harvick moved into the third spot and remained there until David Stremme passed him with less than 10 laps to go.
Greg Biffle won the first Busch Series event staged at night in Phoenix. Fellow Nextel Cup competitor Elliott Sadler finished second, followed by Stremme in third. Harvick's teammate, Clint Bowyer, finished 13th.
The next race for Harvick and the REESE'S Racing team is next Saturday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. FOX-TV will have live coverage beginning at 3 p.m. EDT. MRN radio will handle the play-by-play duties on your local affiliate.