Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), had a promising afternoon derailed on a late-race restart and finished 17th Sunday afternoon at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in the Martinsville 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion started 19th and raced his way to the lead by lap 101 of the 500-lap race. He remained near the front of the field virtually the entire day, running solidly inside the top-five until the final 40 laps.
The Bakersfield, California native was racing in the fourth position when a caution flag flew on lap 457. During the caution, crew chief Rodney Childers called the No. 4 Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and fuel, and Harvick returned to the racetrack in fourth. Starting in the outside lane of the second row proved to be a challenge as Harvick fought to get his No. 4 Chevrolet to the bottom but lost several positions in the process.
The final caution of the day flew on lap 483 as Harvick was racing in the ninth position. He stayed out during the caution and restarted sixth with 12 laps remaining. On the final restart, he again got stuck in the outside lane, and continued to fall through the field until the checkered flag flew as he was racing in the 17th position.
The Sprint Cup points leader led twice for 72 laps to bring his season total to 485 laps led through the first six races of the season. The 17th-place finish, however, ended his streak of nine consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to last season. It was also Harvick’s third consecutive race leading at least 70 laps.