Busch Beer’s tagline “Earning It” might be a perfect way to describe Kevin Harvick’s gritty win in Sunday’s rain-postponed and rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) outlasted the field – and several rain delays – in a race that started on Saturday night and ended Sunday evening. In all, Harvick led four times for a total of 128 laps en route to his second win of the season and his second career win at Bristol, which he celebrated with a victory lap and spins alongside Tony Stewart.
“That was pretty cool, doing burnouts with him (SHR co-owner and teammate Stewart),” Harvick said. “I’ve got to thank Busch Beer, Jimmy John’s, Chevrolet and Mobil 1 and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing on this Chevrolet. We should have won a lot of races this year but we just had things not go our way. We made mistakes, or whatever the case may be. But, to get back into Victory Lane here at Bristol feels really good. We’ve had some good cars here over the last few years. And to have Busch Beer on the car; we’ve had crummy luck with these guys on the car, and so I’m just really happy for Busch and Jimmy John’s and really proud of these guys on the No. 4 team.”
After starting a disappointing 24th, Harvick’s No. 4 car steadily moved up through the field at the drop of the green flag, and he sat 16th at lap 48 when the rain forced the race to be stopped for the night. Once the race finally resumed in the 4-o’clock hour on Sunday afternoon, Harvick again began picking off spots, and he quickly jumped into the top-10.
Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers made adjustments to the Busch Beer Chevrolet that brought the No. 4 into the top-five well before the halfway point. In fact, Harvick took his first lead of the race on lap 286 from Kyle Busch, who had been dominant up to that point.
Following pit stops on lap 308, Busch restarted in the lead, but Harvick snuck past him on lap 347. From there, the race was all Harvick, as he led 82 of the final 97 circuits to bring home the victory.
“Well, we knew we had the performance that we needed to have in the cars pretty much every week,” Harvick said. “And it’s been one of those deals where things have just not gone exactly right. But to have the win now and just try to get that momentum before we get into the Chase and get things rolling is really what we needed.”
It was the 34th point-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s fourth this season. It was SHR’s first win at Bristol.