Jimmy John’s driver Delivers dominant performance in the desert.
Kevin Harvick delivered a dominant performance in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, scoring his first win in just his second points-paying race start with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in The Profit on CNBC 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions,” Harvick said. “I’ve just got to thank all these guys at Stewart-Haas Racing. I’ve got to thank Sprint, the fans, Jimmy John’s, Budweiser, Outback Steakhouse, Chevrolet, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Mobil 1, Gene Haas and everyone at Haas Automation, everybody who makes this thing go around. It’s been so much work. To see the time and effort that these guys have put in – what a racecar.”
The victory, Harvick’s third in the last four races at Phoenix, made him the all-time Sprint Cup win leader at the mile oval with five. The win was also a milestone for Harvick’s new team as it was the 20th points-paying Sprint Cup win for SHR since its inception in 2009.
Harvick started 13th Sunday afternoon, but it wasn’t even 10 laps after the green flag flew before he had cracked the top-five. He took the lead for the first time at lap 74 and from there, Harvick never really looked back.
He led a race-high 224 laps, including the final 63 laps, during which time he had to hold off a series of challenges from his closest opponents thanks to a flurry of caution flags and resulting restarts.
“It did (make me nervous) because the No. 22 (Joey Logano) was able to time the restarts there, and I knew that what was going to happen was he was going to take a shot down low,” Harvick said. “So, I tried to do the best I could. I’m just really happy and thank everybody at the Hendrick engine shop and all these cars sharing information. Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., racing there for second was a lot of fun. Man, this is awesome!
“I just have to thank everybody on this Jimmy John’s Chevrolet for all the work and effort and really everybody at Stewart-Haas,” Harvic said. “To add an extra team, bring in a bunch of new guys, new driver, Rodney Childers has just done a phenomenal job of putting this team together. These guys all want to win, that is why they came here. That is why I came here, too. I just got to thank Gene (Haas) and Tony (Stewart), Eddie Jarvis, in 2012 I told him it would be fun to have Tony and I on the same team, and here we are in victory lane.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 16th.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 36th. It was Patrick’s 48th career Sprint Cup start and her fourth at Phoenix.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 39th after experiencing a terminal engine issue late in the race.
Harvick’s win was his 24th career Sprint Cup victory in 468.
Earnhardt finished .489 of a second behind Harvick in the runner-up spot, while Brad Keselowski, Logano and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-five. Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were eight caution periods for 38 laps, with four drivers failing to finish the 312-lap race.
With round two of 36 complete, Harvick leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He is fourth, 11 points behind first-place Earnhardt. Stewart is 20th, 53 points out of first. Kurt Busch is 30th, 61 points out of first. Patrick is 39th, 77 points out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 2 p.m.