Date: Nov. 6, 2016
Event: AAA Texas 500 (Round 34 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 3rd/6th (Running, completed 293 of 293 laps)
Points: 4,056 points – 18 points outside the top-four
Winner: Carl Edwards of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), battled through changing track conditions to finish sixth in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It was his 25th top-10 finish of 2016 and his 16th top-10 finish at Texas.
Harvick started the rain-delayed and rain-shortened event from the third position and raced as high as second by lap 31, but the track conditions following the weather delays led to a substantially different race than the team practiced for throughout the weekend. The No. 4 Chevrolet suffered from a tight-center, loose-off handling condition yet remained in the top-10 through the majority of the event.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion raced in the fourth position halfway through the scheduled 334-lap distance as the team continued to work on the handling of the racecar.
Harvick was racing in sixth when Austin Dillon’s No. 3 car drifted up the racetrack coming off the corner, causing the No. 4 to make unintentional contact with the rear of the No. 3 and bring out the seventh caution of the day. Harvick brought his racecar to pit road following the incident for four tires and fuel and returned to the track in the ninth spot.
With more rain approaching the area, Harvick raced from ninth up to sixth by lap 291, when the skies opened up again. The race ended under a caution for weather on lap 293 shortly after the cars were brought to pit road, with Harvick scored in sixth place.
“Our Busch Beer Chevy was off,” said Harvick, who scored runner-up finishes at Texas in November 2014 and April 2015. “We were tight, we were loose, and we were kind of all over the place. We could take off okay, but we would fall way off at the end of a run. I just want to apologize to the 3 (Dillon). He kind of came up there and he slid in front of me and got loose, and when he checked up I hit him again. That was not anything I wanted to see. All in all, everybody battled and did all they could, and we just didn’t have a fast-enough car.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 20th.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 24th.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 31st.
Carl Edwards won the AAA Texas 500 to score his 28th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his fourth at Texas.
Joey Logano finished second to Edwards when the race was called official after 293 of the scheduled 334 laps when rain inundated the racetrack. Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five. Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were eight caution periods for 37 laps, with three drivers failing to finish the 293-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval.
Harvick and Kurt Busch are representing SHR in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and after Texas – the eighth race of the 10-race Chase – they rank seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Round of 8. Harvick leaves Texas in seventh, 18 points behind fourth place. Busch is eighth, 34 points out of the top-four. Following the ninth race of the Chase Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway, only the four leading drivers will advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship 4 on Nov. 20 in the season finale at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway.
With two races remaining in the Round of 8, the top-eight drivers competing for the title rank as follows:
- Jimmie Johnson (4,074 points) 1 win
2. Carl Edwards (4,049 points) 1 win
3. Joey Logano (4,074 points) +1 points
4. Kyle Busch (4,074 points) +1 points
5. Matt Kenseth (4,073 points) – 1 points
6. Denny Hamlin (4,072 points) – 2 points
7. Kevin Harvick (4,056 points) – 18 points
8. Kurt Busch (4,040 points) – 34 points
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Nov. 13 Can-Am 500k at Phoenix. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!