Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), appeared to be on his way to his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory when a left-front hub failure on lap 193 sent him behind the wall for lengthy repairs, relegating him to a 41st-place finish.
“It looks like the left-front hub locked up,” Harvick said. “The car just kind of lost the handling in the last 15 or 20 laps before we went behind the wall. It started to get really loose, which makes sense with that left-front brake dragging like that. I have to thank everybody on this team. They have done a great job, and our Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was ‘Freaky Fast’ again today. We’ve just got to keep doing what we are doing and everything will be fine with cars like that.”
Harvick started 16th in the 43-car field and, despite battling a loose-handling racecar, was able to hold his position until he came to pit road under the first caution of the race on lap 21. Crew chief Rodney Childers called for air pressure and chassis adjustments. Despite needing more fine-tuning on his black-and-white machine, Harvick was able to advance his position and shave time from his deficit to the race leader.
Childers continued to make minor adjustments each time Harvick hit pit road, which allowed the Bakersfield, Calif., native to continue advancing toward the front of the field.
As the race continued under green-flag conditions, Harvick was able to race his way to the front on lap 130. He was forced to relinquish the spot 10 laps later when he had to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop, but as the cycle completed, Harvick was once again posted as the race leader.
As the laps clicked off, Harvick began to develop a handling issue that saw him slow drastically on the racetrack. He was able to bring the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet to pit road without incident, where the crew immediately diagnosed suspension failure. The team was forced to push the car behind the wall, where they made the necessary repairs that allowed Harvick to rejoin the field – albeit 30 laps behind the race leader – to avoid being credited with a DNF (did not finish).