Harvick Settles for Top-15 Finish at Dover Kevin Harvick and the No.29 Shell-Pennzoil team charged inside the top 10 in the middle stages of the AAA 400 on Sunday from Dover International Speedway, but their Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet went...
Harvick Settles for Top-15 Finish at Dover
Kevin Harvick and the No.29 Shell-Pennzoil team charged inside the top 10 in the middle stages of the AAA 400 on Sunday from Dover International Speedway, but their Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet went extremely loose in the final two runs of the race, and they had to settle for a 15th-place finish. The effort was the Bakersfield, Calif., native's 24th top-15 finish in the season's 28 events. With eight races remaining in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, the 14-time NSCS winner is fifth in the standings, 65 points behind the leader Denny Hamlin.
On Friday, the Gil Martin-led team worked on race trim for the first half of the day's 90-minute practice session before switching over to qualifying trim. Even though they tried several mock-qualifying runs, the team was only able to muster a lap good enough for 32nd on the practice sheet. In qualifying later Friday afternoon, Harvick continued to search for speed and qualified 33rd for Sunday's 400-mile affair.
Saturday's duel practice sessions gave the No. 29 team plenty of time to fine-tune their Chevrolet, and they made steady progress, posting the 26th and 15th-fastest times, respectively, in the two sessions.
A crowd of 88,000 NASCAR fans turned out for Sunday's race, and Harvick took the green flag from his 33rd-starting slot. He was very quiet on the radio during the first 38 laps before the race's first caution flag, as he raced his way to 23rd. He communicated to Martin that the car was perfect, and Martin instructed the No. 29 team to change four tires with no adjustments, and add fuel. During the pit stop, the team suffered some trouble on the rear of the car, shuffling Harvick back to 27th for the restart.
The red and yellow machine was a little loose in the early going of the run, but it came to life and Harvick raced his way inside the top 15 by lap 91. A round of green-flag pit stops started on lap 114, and Martin brought Harvick to pit road on lap 116 for four fresh tires and fuel, and again made no adjustments. Once the pit stops had cycled though, Harvick was scored in the 14th position.
The Shell-Pennzoil driver continued to drive his way forward, and made his presence known inside the top 10 just prior to the halfway mark of the race. A debris caution gave Martin a chance to correct the loose condition on the No. 29 Chevrolet, and the team made a minor chassis adjustment and an air pressure adjustment with four tires, and added fuel. Harvick left the pits in ninth for the lap 193-restart.
Harvick raced between the eighth and 11th positions for the next 100 laps, struggling with the handling on his Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet on the initial takeoff. A caution flag for debris was displayed with 110 laps to go, and the Richard Childress Racing team made another chassis adjustment and added fuel with fresh tires. The team placed Harvick back on the track in the 11th spot.
The day then turned sour over the course of the final 100 laps. Harvick was unable to make his customary late-race charge inside the top 10, and he struggled mightily with a loose-handling car. He managed to hang on and cross the stripe in 15th at the conclusion of the day.
Jimmie Johnson scored the victory from the pole, and he was followed by Harvick's RCR teammate, Jeff Burton. Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five finishers. Fellow RCR teammate Clint Bowyer finished 25th.
Hamlin remains the leader in points, with Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Harvick rounding out the top five. Burton is seventh, 80 points behind Hamlin, and Bowyer is 12th, 235 points in arrears.
KEVIN HARVICK: "We drove up to the top 10 nicely today, but our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet just went too loose on the last two runs, and we couldn't get it dialed in. It's somewhat puzzling, because our car was super fast in the early going today. For some reason, we just lost the handle on it. But, we will regroup and be ready for them next weekend at Kansas."