Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 ditech Home Loans Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), ran in the top-five the majority of the afternoon until the final restart forced him to finish seventh in Sunday’s Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
The 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion started seventh and raced his way into the top-five shortly after the green flag waved. He raced his way to the second position by the race’s halfway point. Harvick took the lead on lap 319 and held it until coming to pit road under caution on lap 331.
The Bakersfield, California, native continued to race in the top-five and looked strongest on the longer green-flag runs, but after each caution he restarted in the bottom lane instead of the preferred top lane.
Harvick was racing in the third position when the caution flag flew on lap 486 and was forced to restart in the bottom lane on lap 491. He fell two positions as he tried to move up to the outside lane, but another caution immediately followed on lap 493. Following the brief caution period, Harvick restarted fifth with five laps remaining and dropped another two positions as he raced in the bottom lane in the closing laps to cross the finish line in the seventh position.
The top-10 finish was Harvick’s seventh of 2016, his 14th top-10 in 31 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol and his 264th career top-10 in 546 Sprint Cup starts. Harvick also led once for 13 laps to bring his season total to 499 laps led in 2016.
“Yeah, (starting on the inside) was definitely the biggest challenge for us,” said Harvick, who won the Sprint Cup race at Bristol in April 2005. “The guys did a great job with our ditech Chevy. We had the speed, but it seemed like every restart we were just struggling to make ground on the restart. By the time you get to two or three spots back, you battle back to where you were and then the caution would come out again. But there’s nothing you can do about that. We raced hard all day and we’ll go to the next one.”TSC PR