Harvick Finishes Runner-Up at Homestead-Miami 2015
Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Driver Second in 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup
Date: Nov. 22, 2015
Event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Finale (Round 36 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 13th/2nd (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 5,042 points, Finished 2nd in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished second in the Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway as well as the final 2015 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup season standings.
Harvick was one of four drivers contending for the championship at Homestead, with his fellow title contenders being Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. Busch scored the race victory to claim the 2015 Sprint Cup championship.
Harvick led once for 46 laps en route to his 23rd top-five finish this season and his seventh top-five finish in 15 career Sprint Cup starts at Homestead-Miami. The finish was also Harvick’s 28th top-10 of 2015, eclipsing his previous single-season career-best of 26 top-10s in 2010. Harvick led 2,294 laps in 2015, breaking his single-season record of 2,137 laps led in 2014 as he raced to the Sprint Cup championship.
Harvick started 13th, raced his way to the lead by lap 45 and remained the leader until lap 90 when he came to pit road under green-flag conditions for a scheduled four-tire pit stop. He returned to the racetrack in the third position and raced in the top-five for the remainder of the race.
Harvick, running in the fourth position, trailed Busch, who was racing in second at the time, by more than eight seconds when the final caution flag of the night waved for debris on the frontstretch with 10 laps remaining. The leaders came to pit road for service, readying for a seven-lap sprint to the end. Harvick restarted fourth, while Busch restarted second. As the green flag waved, the two competitors charged to the front, taking the first and second positions. Busch pulled away in the closing laps and beat Harvick to the finish line by 1.552 seconds to win the race and the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
“We were just struggling all night, to be honest with you, with our Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevy,” said Harvick, who won the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in 2014. “We had a lot of trouble getting up off the corner and putting the power down. And the longer the run went, the looser that we would get up off the corner. We just want to thank everybody: Hendrick Engines, SHR, Outback, Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers and everybody who is a part of this car and who has been supportive of us over the last two years. It’s been a great couple of years, and I’m looking forward to next year. So, it’s fun to be able to run like this. You always want to win, but I’ve learned not to get greedy. After last year, I felt like we had everything go our way, and tonight, it didn’t go our way. But, just congratulations to the No. 18 team and everything they did, and all of our guys – they’ve done a great job all year.”
Harvick’s total of 2,294 laps led in 2015 marks the second time in his 15-year career that he has led 2,000 laps in a single Sprint Cup season. He first accomplished the feat by leading 2,137 laps in 2014. In his two years at SHR (2014-2015) Harvick has led more laps (4,431) than he did in his previous 13 years in the Sprint Cup Series (4,426).
With 13 runner-up finishes in 2015, Harvick became the 10th Sprint Cup driver to score double-digit runner-up finishes in a single season, and the first since Bobby Allison in 1972. Harvick scored his 13th runner-up finish of 2015 Sunday at Homestead-Miami. Combined with its three Sprint Cup wins, the No. 4 team has recorded 16 top-two finishes in 2015.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR and Kyle’s older brother, finished eighth. It was his third-straight top-10 finish, his 21st of 2015, and his sixth top-10 in 15 career Sprint Cup starts at Homestead.
With Kurt Busch having won the Sprint Cup championship in 2004 and now Kyle Busch a Sprint Cup champion, the Busch brothers join Terry and Bobby Labonte as the only brothers to win Sprint Cup championships. Terry Labonte won titles in 1984 and 1996, and Bobby Labonte earned his championship in 2000.
Harvick’s runner-up finish led the four-car SHR contingent Sunday.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 24th.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 29th after getting caught up in an early race accident.
Kyle Busch’s victory in the season-ending race was his 34th career Sprint Cup victory, his fifth of the season and his first at Homestead.
Harvick finished 1.552 seconds behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five. Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 30 laps, with two drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval.
The 2016 Sprint Cup season kicks off Feb. 12-21 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 58th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 21 and will be broadcast live on FOX.
Congratulation to Kevin Harvick and his team on an incredible 2015 season. We're proud to sponsor such a hard working group.