Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Folds of Honor/Outback Steakhouse/Budweiser Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), appeared to be the driver to beat in the SaveMart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. But after getting caught up in an incident not of his own making on lap 81, he was relegated to a 20th-place finish.
“Today was just another day with the fastest car,” Harvick said. “We had a chance to win the race and kind of flubbed it up again. Just got ourselves bad track position and crashed.”
Harvick started sixth in the 43-car field and wasted little time advancing toward the front of the field. The Bakersfield, California, native took the lead for the first time at lap 22 and held the point until coming to pit road for scheduled service on lap 32. Due to varying pit strategies, Harvick was scored 14th for the lap-34 restart, but he was able to work his way through the field to take the lead once again on lap 58.
Harvick stayed up front until lap 71, when the caution flag waved as he slowed to come to pit road for what was planned to be his final stop. Now running fourth, Harvick followed the rest of the lead-lap cars to pit road on lap 72. Shortly after the restart, Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 machine spun in front of Harvick in turn 11, and the No. 4 could not avoid the accident. The resulting damage required two trips to pit road for repairs, placing Harvick 30th for the lap-85 restart. Despite battling an ill-handling racecar over the final 25 laps, Harvick was able to climb to the 20th position by the time the checkered flag waved.
Harvick’s teammate Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car SHR contingent by finishing 12th.