Date: Aug. 28, 2021
Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 11th / 15th (Running, completed 165 of 165 laps)
Point Standing: 9th (777 points, 249 out of first – IN THE PLAYOFFS)
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Kevin Harvick started 11th and finished 27th.
● Harvick wheeled his No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang around the low line of the 2.5-mile oval, climbing to seventh by lap three.
● Harvick opted for the high line on lap four and promptly rose to third.
● A dive back down to the low line off turn two on lap seven enabled Harvick to take the lead from William Byron
● Harvick held the top spot for two laps until Byron reassumed the lead.
● Harvick was 15th when the competition caution came out on lap 20, whereupon he pitted for four tires and fuel.
● Lined up 22nd for lap-26 restart.
● Harvick held steady at the back of the lead pack through the end of the stage, ultimately finishing 27th.
● “Balance is fine,” said Harvick. “I’ve just got to get in a better spot.”
● Harvick pitted for four tires and fuel at the end of the stage, and then pitted again to top off with fuel before the start of the second stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● Harvick started 31st and finished 12th.
● Harvick climbed to 16th by lap 65 while utilizing the high line.
● The No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang withstood a shot in the rear bumper when cars got stacked up on lap 77 and caused an accident.
● Harvick was able to keep his car steady and he took advantage of the caution to pit for four tires and fuel on lap 80.
● Lined up 18th for lap-82 restart and climbed to 12th before the end of the stage.
● Pitted for right-side tires and fuel at the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-165):
● Harvick started third and finished 15th.
● The No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang took the lead on lap 108, swapped it with Chase Elliott on lap 109 before Harvick re-took the lead on lap 110. Joey Logano then assumed the top spot on lap 111.
● The jockeying up front was intense. Harvick kept his head, running the inside lane and dropping to eighth on lap 118.
● By lap 120, Harvick was back up to fifth, using the inside lane to make his way toward the front.
● Made scheduled, green flag pit stop for fuel only on lap 123 with fellow Ford drivers.
● Was 28th when the caution flag waved on lap 140 for a four-car accident off turn four.
● Harvick stayed out to gain some track position, restarting in eighth on lap 145.
● The caution flag waved again on lap 147 for a multicar accident on the backstretch that happened just behind Harvick.
● Harvick lined up 12th for the lap-151 restart.
● An 11-car melee erupted off turn four on lap 158, but Harvick deftly maneuvered through the chaos and came out unscathed.
● Harvick was fifth for the lap-164 restart as the race was set to go into overtime with a green-white-checkered finish.
● Harvick used the draft to his advantage and was third going into the final lap with momentum pushing him toward the lead.
● A bump from the car behind him while in turn three on the final lap sent Harvick spinning. The Unibet Ford Mustang bounced off the wall and into other cars. Harvick was able re-fire his machine and limp what was left of it across the finish line to bring home a 15th-place result as the last car on the lead lap.
● Harvick qualified for the playoffs by virtue of his ninth-place finish in the regular-season standings.
● This is Harvick’s 12th consecutive playoff appearance and his 15th overall. He won the championship in 2014.
● Harvick led three times for four laps, increasing his laps led total at Daytona to 283.
● Harvick has now led 11,250 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 15,674 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.
● Ryan Blaney won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to score his seventh career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Daytona. His margin over second-place Chris Buescher was .773 of a second.
● This was Ford’s 711th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its second straight. Ford driver Blaney also won the series’ prior race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
● This was Ford’s series-leading 39th win at Daytona. Ford scored its first win at the track with Tiny Lund on Feb. 24, 1963.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 31 laps.
● Only 16 of the 40 drivers in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Larson won the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season championship.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I didn’t see anything. I got hit in the left-rear quarterpanel and then we wrecked a lot, but everybody on our Unibet Ford Mustang did a good job. We had a shot there at the end and that’s all you can ask, and just wound up in a wreck.”
- Kyle Larson (2,052 points)
- Ryan Blaney (2,024 points, -28)
- Martin Truex Jr. (2,024 points, -28)
- Kyle Busch (2,022 points, -30)
- Chase Elliott (2,021 points, -31)
- Alex Bowman (2,015 points, -37)
- Denny Hamlin (2,015 points, -37)
- William Byron (2,014 points, -38)
- Joey Logano (2,013 points, -39)
- Brad Keselowski (2,008 points, -44)
- Kurt Busch (2,008 points, -44)
- Christopher Bell (2,005 points, -47)
- Michael McDowell (2,005 points, -47)
- Aric Almirola (2,005 points, -47)
- Tyler Reddick (2,003 points, -49)
- Kevin Harvick (2,002 points, -50)
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 5 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The first race in the 10-race NASCAR Playoffs starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!