Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), overcame pit road misfortune early in Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to finish fourth, marking his eighth top-five result of 2016 and his eighth top-five in 31 career starts at New Hampshire.
Harvick started eighth and immediately showed he had one of the fastest cars on the racetrack as he advanced to the third position by the competition caution on lap 35. However, an issue with the pit gun used by the rear-tire changer resulted in a slower than normal stop which, paired with a two-tire strategy by several cars, dropped the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet back to the 12th position for the lap-40 restart.
The Bakersfield, California, native quickly worked his way back into the top-five and was racing in the fourth position by the following caution on lap 101. Harvick again came to pit road for a four-tire stop, but the left-rear tire briefly got hung inside the wheel well, causing another slightly slower stop. As a result the No. 4 Chevrolet restarted in the 11th position.
The second half of the event proved much better for the No. 4 team, as Harvick raced up to the fourth position by lap 278. He reached the second spot following a lap-285 restart, but a caution immediately followed on lap 286. He restarted on the front row in the second position on lap 291, but Joey Logano pushed race-winner Matt Kenseth past Harvick on the restart and caused the No. 4 car to fall to fourth by the checkered flag on lap 301.
The Sprint Cup Series points leader extended his points lead over Brad Keselowski and now leads by 14 points.
“We just have to perform better,” said Harvick, who won the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from the pole position in September 2006. “We under-execute as a team on a weekly basis and got to do a better job. The Jimmy John’s Chevrolet cars are always fast, but we always do something wrong.”