Harvick Finishes 19th in Irish Hills of Michigan Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil team battled an ill-handling chassis and finished 19th at Michigan Speedway in Sunday's running of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400. Even with the...
Harvick Finishes 19th in Irish Hills of Michigan
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil team battled an ill-handling chassis and finished 19th at Michigan Speedway in Sunday's running of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400. Even with the less-than-desired result, Harvick retains the overall lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings and leads Kyle Busch by 22 markers.
During the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series opening practice on Friday, the Shell-Pennzoil team found the speed they were looking for while in race trim, but struggled with their qualifying setup. Harvick closed out the 90-minute session as the 29th-fastest driver. Later that afternoon in qualifying, the 34-year-old driver lapped the two-mile track in 38.582 seconds, lining up the No. 29 Chevrolet in the 31st position for Sunday's main event.
Saturday's dual practice sessions provided the Gil Martin-led team with two opportunities to work on their race package, and their efforts came through as Harvick posted the ninth- and fifth-fastest laps, respectively, in each session.
A crowd of 95,000 filled the grandstands in the Irish Hills of Michigan, and beautiful weather greeted the 43 competitors as they prepared to tackle the multi-groove race track. When the green flag was displayed at 1:20 p.m. EDT, Harvick had plans to engage in his customary march forward from his initial starting position.
But, as Harvick attempted to run the lower groove on both ends of the track, he reported that the chassis was extremely tight. Harvick changed his line and moved up near the wall, looking for more speed from his red and yellow machine.
The first of four caution flags was displayed on lap 18, and Harvick was scored in 27th. Martin instructed Harvick to pit for four tires with an air pressure adjustment. The Richard Childress Racing team also pulled a rubber out of the left-rear spring that sent Harvick back to action in 29th.
Once racing resumed, Harvick still suffered from the tight condition, but felt like the car got better over the course of the run. His lap times improved, and he was able to race his way to 20th when the caution flag waved for debris on lap 48.
Again, Harvick pitted for fresh tires and fuel, but this time the team made no adjustments. Quick work by the Shell-Pennzoil team put Harvick back on the track in 18th.
The Chevrolet Impala seemed to come to life as Harvick raced his way inside the top 15 over the next 30 laps, but as the race wore on, the chassis got extremely loose. Harvick raced in and around the top 20 for the remainder of the 200-lap affair. Once the checkered flag waved, Harvick crossed the stripe in 19th.
Denny Hamlin won for the second consecutive week. He was chased to the finish by Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Jeff Burton led the charge for RCR, finishing eighth, while Clint Bowyer finished 22nd.
Next weekend, NASCAR's premier division heads to the wine country of California for the running of the Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.
"We just missed the setup on our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet today. It was either way too tight or way too loose. Gil Martin and our crew tried just about everything during our pit stops today, but we couldn't dial it in. I am looking forward to going to Sonoma to see some family and friends, and getting our 29 car back up front where we belong."