Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), had a strong run going in the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., but a pair of flat tires relegated him to a 36th-place finish.
“We had another strong Jimmy John’s Chevrolet,” Harvick said. “It’s kind of the same story as the last few weeks. We’ll have a really strong run going, and something happens and we don’t get the finish that we deserve. It’s really frustrating. I’m proud of the effort that the guys on this No. 4 team put in every week. It isn’t for lack of effort. It’s just unfortunate situations or part failures that have us trending in the wrong direction.”
Harvick started fourth in the 43-car field and held his position in the opening laps. The Bakersfield, Calif., native took over the third position on lap 17 but slowed drastically moments later as the left-rear tire of his No. 4 Chevrolet deflated. Already past the entrance to pit road, Harvick was forced to make a lap around the 2-mile speedway. As the tire disintegrated, the left-rear quarter panel of Harvick’s Jimmy John’s Chevrolet suffered major damage that required multiple trips to pit road for repairs.
Despite the damage incurred, Harvick was determined to make the most of his day. It look him just 20 laps to advance from the 42nd position to 22nd, and as the laps clicked off, the No. 4 continued to climb in the running order steadily. By the halfway point of the race, Harvick worked his way back inside the top-five and appeared to be on his way to contending for the race lead. Unfortunately, misfortune struck Harvick again on lap 139, when he experienced another left-rear tire failure. This time the damage to the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was much worse, and the necessary repairs saw Harvick lose three laps to the race leaders. From there, all the No. 4 team could do was make repairs good enough to get Harvick to the finish, where he ended the race two laps down in 36th-place.