Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished fifth in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The fifth-place finish marks Harvick’s seventh top-five of the season and 14th in 31 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan.
The Sprint Cup Series points leader started 29th after ill-timed cautions interrupted his first two qualifying attempts on Friday at Michigan. The starting position proved to be difficult in the early going as cars struggled to pass on the 2-mile oval. Harvick fell a lap down to the leaders twice during the first half of the race after cautions immediately followed green-flag pit stops. However, the No. 4 team took the wave-around in each case to return to the lead lap.
Harvick was scored 22nd on the lap-107 restart just past the halfway point of the 200-lap event, but he immediately began working his way toward the front of the field. Harvick took right-side tires and fuel on lap 112 to restart 21st, and the two-tire strategy paid off as he raced up to 11th by lap 128.
A quick four-tire stop under caution on lap 149 allowed the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion to gain two spots on pit road and enter the top-10 for the first time in the event. He raced his way up to the third position on the lap-155 restart and held the spot until a lap-164 caution. Harvick stayed out with the leaders but fell to fifth by the final caution of the day on lap 190.
The Bakersfield, California, native restarted fifth on lap 194 and raced his way up to fourth on the restart before losing one position and reaching the checkered flag in the fifth spot.
“Yeah, I got loose on the restart where we restarted third,” said Harvick, who won the Sprint Cup race at Michigan in August 2010. “I’ve just got to say thank you to everybody from Stewart-Haas Racing, especially on the No. 4 Outback Chevrolet, and everybody from Busch Beer, Jimmy John’s and Mobil 1 and everybody who helps this car. We fought all day and had great pit stops on pit road. We were able to overcome some mistimed cautions again. It seems like the weekend of cautions; that’s what got us in our starting spot, anyway. But all in all, everybody kept their heads up and kept digging, and we got a good finish out of it.”
Harvick led the four-car SHR contingent Sunday at Michigan.