Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway by finishing second in the rain-postponed Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. It was Harvick’s series-leading 11th second-place finish this season and his 14th top-two finish in the 30 races run in 2015.
Harvick started in the 11th position. After the competition caution on lap 25, the No. 4 Chevrolet restarted seventh after a “Freaky Fast” four-tire pit stop. Harvick was racing in eighth when the third caution flag of the day came out on lap 62. He brought the Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet to pit road for another four-tire stop, and his pit crew again delivered a fast pit stop that put him back out on the track in eighth for the lap-66 restart.
Harvick brought the No. 4 Chevrolet to pit road for a two-tire pit stop following a lap-76 caution. He returned to the racetrack in the eighth position as the first car on new tires, while the top-seven cars elected to stay out. The Bakersfield, California, native raced from eighth to fourth on the ensuing restart and remained in the top-five for the remainder of the afternoon, except during green-flag pit cycles.
Oil on the racing surface brought out the eighth caution of the day on lap 195. The defending Sprint Cup champion elected to stay out and moved from fifth to third as a result of the pit strategy. He restarted third on lap 201 and immediately passed Jimmie Johnson for the second position.
The No. 4 team elected to stay out and keep the second position during the final caution of the day on lap 241. Harvick restarted second, maintained his position through his final green-flag pit stop on lap 283 and crossed the finish line less than a second behind race-winner Joey Logano.
“We could hang with him (Logano), but I would just lose him every once in a while in traffic,” said Harvick, who won the 2014 Bank of America 500. “It was just extremely hard to pass. But all in all, we weren’t very good all weekend, and the guys just did a great job on pit road to make our car better throughout the day. We were able to make our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet better as we went on. So, I’m just really proud of that. And if those are the off-days, we’ll be just fine.”It was Harvick’s sixth top-five finish in 30 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his 10th top-10 finish in the past 11 Sprint Cup races at the 1.5-mile oval.