Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the way for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Sunday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway by finishing second in the 57th running of the season-opening Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Harvick earned his seventh top-five in 28 career points-paying Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona.
Harvick started from the 11th position after finishing sixth in his Budweiser Duel on Thursday evening. The defending Sprint Cup Series champion raced consistently around the top-10 for the majority of the first 100 laps of the scheduled 200-lap event without incident. Following a caution just past the halfway point of the race, Harvick started to work his way to the front and by lap 122 found his way to second.
The No. 4 Chevrolet SS pitted for the final time on lap 152 under green-flag conditions and raced back into the top-five as the pit cycle completed. Crew chief Rodney Childers told Harvick that would be the final pit stop and to conserve fuel in the event of a green-white-checkered finish.
Harvick was racing in the sixth position when a two-car wreck occurred on the frontstretch to set up a green-white-checkered finish. After a nearly seven-minute red-flag period, the No. 4 team elected to stay out and restart sixth for the final three-lap dash. Harvick made a move from the top lane on the restart and raced his way to the second position, but he was unable to chase down race leader Joey Logano before an eight-car wreck on the backstretch forced the race to end under caution.
“Definitely, for us, it was a good solid day to start the season,” said Harvick, who won the Daytona 500 in 2007. “Obviously, you want to try to win the race, but sometimes you’re just happy to keep rolling and going out of here and head to (next week’s race at) Atlanta with a solid day.”