Harvick Clinches Chase Berth at Kentucky

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished eighth in the Kentucky 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Saturday night. The finish put Harvick 410 points ahead of the driver listed 31st in the points standings and clinched his berth in the 10-race NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

NASCAR introduced a new low-downforce aerodynamics package this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Due to constant rain, NASCAR cancelled a scheduled test on Wednesday as well as a makeup test day on Thursday. Teams were able to participate in a rain-shortened practice on Friday afternoon, but the rain returned and NASCAR decided to cancel Sprint Cup qualifying in favor of an extended practice session late Friday afternoon. The field for Saturday’s race was set according to the NASCAR rule book, with the reigning Sprint Cup champion Harvick starting in the 15th position.

At the beginning of the race Harvick reported that the No. 4 Chevrolet was loose in, so the team went to work making adjustments with each stop on pit road. Harvick raced his way up to third by lap 157.

Harvick brought the Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet to pit road under caution on lap 210 for a four-tire pit stop and returned to the racetrack in the 10th position as the first car with four fresh tires. He raced the No. 4 Chevrolet up to eighth by the final caution on lap 221. Following the restart Harvick advanced up to the seventh position, but he crossed the finish line in the eighth spot.

“I’m really proud of everyone on our Budweiser/Jimmy John’s team for the work they did this weekend getting ready for this new package,” said Harvick, who scored his third top-10 in five career Sprint Cup starts at Kentucky and his 16th top-10 this season. “We were definitely sliding around more often on restarts, but as you got going the cars just kind of got spread out and I thought the gaps were a little bit bigger. Definitely a lot of information to take away from this and looking forward to Indy in a couple of weeks to see what we take away from there.”​

Harvick’s eighth-place finish led the four-car SHR contingent Saturday night.