Kevin Harvick Scores Top-Five in Daytona 500

Kevin Harvick Scores Top-Five in Daytona 500 NK Photography Photo

Race Winner:  Michael McDowell of Front Row Motorsports (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-65):

●  Kevin Harvick started eighth and finished 17th.

●  Harvick took the lead on the second lap and held the point until lap 17 when rain caused a 5-hour, 40-minute red flag.

●  When the red flag was finally lifted at 9:30 p.m. ET, Harvick came to pit road to top off his No. 4 Busch Light #TheCrew Ford Mustang with fuel, allowing him to make it through the end of the stage without pitting again.

●  Harvick lined up in 14th for the lap-30 restart.

●  Ran as high as eighth before getting shuffled out of the draft and falling to the tail end of the lead pack.

●  “Those cars just can’t stay with us,” said Harvick about his lack of drafting partners.

●  Pitted for four tires and fuel upon the conclusion of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 66-130):

●  Harvick started 12th and finished second, collecting nine bonus points.

●  The stage began with single-file racing and Harvick put his No. 4 Busch Light #TheCrew Ford Mustang in 11th place.

●  “We need some tape on the front of this thing,” said Harvick on lap 87 while still maintaining 11th.

●  Fuel-only, green-flag pit stop on lap 104. Made a right-rear wedge adjustment and added tape to the grille.

●  Was third on lap 110 after pit stops had cycled through.

●  Took the lead on lap 119 with push from fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric before Denny Hamlin retook the lead on the following lap.

●  Battled the Toyotas of Hamlin and Bubba Wallace to finish the stage in second place.

●  Pitted for four tires and fuel at the end of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 131-200):

●  Harvick started fourth and finished fourth.

●  Harvick made his No. 4 Busch Light #TheCrew Ford Mustang a second-place mainstay throughout much of the final stage, doggedly pursuing leader Hamlin.

●  With 38 laps to go, a cool and calm Harvick said, “Everything’s fine right now,” when asked about his racecar.

●  Made a scheduled, green-flag pit stop for right-side tires and fuel on lap 170.

●  Was second behind fellow Ford driver Joey Logano on lap 175 after pit stops cycled through.

●  The final two laps served as a shootout for the victory, with plenty of jockeying for the top spot. It ended violently in turn four with a multicar accident that collected many of the leaders. Harvick emerged unscathed to secure a fourth-place finish.

 

Notes:

●  This was Harvick’s 20th career start in The Great American Race, with his first Daytona 500 coming on Feb. 17, 2002.

●  Harvick earned his 11th top-five and 16th top-10 in 40 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona.

●  Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has earned four top-fives in the Daytona 500.

●  Harvick finished second in Stage 2 to earn nine bonus points.

●  Harvick led twice for 17 laps to increase his laps-led total at Daytona to 279.

●  Harvick has now led 11,156 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 15,582 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.

●  Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 to score his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

●  This was Ford’s 705th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.

●  This was Ford’s 16th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Daytona. Ford won its first race at Daytona on February 24, 1963 with Tiny Lund. Ford’s previous NASCAR Cup Series win at the track came via SHR in the 2017 Daytona 500 with former driver Kurt Busch.

●  There were seven caution periods for a total of 40 laps.

●  Only 11 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

●  Austin Dillon leaves Daytona as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light #TheCrew Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Brad (Keselowski) laid way back there and got a run on the inside and then at that point when it scatters you hope that you get a push or you can wind up in the right spot, and I just wound up in a spot that finished fourth. We had a great Busch Light Ford Mustang all night. We were able to position ourselves up front. It was kind of a weird race the way it would all single-file out and then you kind of scatter there a lap or two at the end and see where it all played out.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday, Feb. 21 on the Daytona road course. The race begins at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

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