Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), appeared to have the car to beat late in the running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Saturday night, but Denny Hamlin’s late-race move in the final 10-lap segment denied him a second All-Star win. Harvick, who won the race in 2007, had to settle for his second straight runner-up finish in the 31st annual non-points event.
“I thought we were in a really good spot there at the end with our Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy,” said Harvick, who recorded his fourth top-five finish in 15 career All-Star races. “As soon as Denny (Hamlin) moved up that one time, it kind of took the air off. I had committed to the middle of the corner. Once I got to the middle of the corner the car just washed all the way up the racetrack, and I had to lift way out of the gas to get the car back off the wall. All in all just really proud of everybody on this team; I’ve got to thank Hunt Brothers, Jimmy John’s, Budweiser, Chevrolet, Mobil 1, everybody who is a part of this program, DiTech and Outback for everything that they do.”
Harvick started 20th out of 20 cars after being penalized when he slid through his pit stall and his pit crew came over the wall too early during qualifying for the annual non-points race, which featured drivers who met one of the following criteria:
- Won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 2013 or 2014.
- Is a past All-Star Race winner.
- Is a Sprint Cup champion from the past 10 years.
- Won Friday night’s Sprint Showdown.
- Was the runner-up in the Sprint Showdown.
- Won the Sprint Fan Vote.
The 110-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval was broken up into five segments of 25 laps, 25 laps, 25 laps, 25 laps and 10 laps and featured a 20-driver field.
Harvick started 20th in the 20-car field and raced his way to 10th by the end of the first of the four 25-lap segments. He followed the rest of the leaders to pit road for a routine four-tire stop at the conclusion of the segment and gained two positions while on pit road to start eighth in segment two. Harvick displayed the strength of his Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet throughout the following two segments, working his way through the field to finish sixth in the second segment and second in both the third and fourth segments.With the field placed under caution after the fourth segment, the running order was set based on drivers’ average finish in the first four segments, so Harvick came to pit road in fourth for the mandatory four-tire pit stop before the fifth and final 10-lap segment. Harvick’s No. 4 team was beat off of pit road by eventual race winner Hamlin and SHR teammate Kurt Busch, placing Harvick in third place for the restart. While he was able to overtake teammate Busch for the second position on the restart and challenged Hamlin for the lead over the closing laps, he was forced to settle for a second-place finish when the checkered flag waved.