Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), fought hard for a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. It was Harvick’s 11th top-five finish this season and his 10th top-five in 32 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan.
Harvick started fourth and raced his way to the lead on lap 26 immediately following the competition caution. He held the top spot until lap 57, when he reported that the No. 4 Chevrolet was struggling with a loose-handling condition.
The Jimmy John’s Chevrolet raced in the top-five for the majority of the event and was running in fourth when the final caution flag of the day flew on lap 188. As the top-three stayed out on older tires, Harvick came to pit road for a two-tire stop, hoping to chase down the leaders for the win. He restarted sixth on lap 161 as the first car on fresh tires, but he was held up on the restart when leader Chase Elliott spun his tires in the outside lane. Harvick was able to gain one position in the closing laps to cross the finish line in fifth.
“We just lost the handle there on the last couple of runs,” said Harvick, who also finished fifth in the June race at Michigan. “For whatever reason we got really loose in, and then after that on the restart we were tight on two tires. Everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Busch Beer Chevrolet did a good job – we just didn’t quite have what we needed to win the race today.”
The Bakersfield, California, native led twice for a total of 33 laps to move his 2016 season total to 997. If he is able to lead three more laps through the next 12 Sprint Cup events he will surpass 1,000 laps led for his third-straight season. Prior to joining SHR his single-season best was 895 laps led in 2006.
Harvick’s fifth-place finish led the four-car SHR contingent at Michigan.