Kevin Harvick Wins The Title
Tonight was the night. NASCAR’s premier series ran its final race of the season. Four teams, four crews and four drivers fighting against each other to take that final flag and win the title.
From a race fan, it wasn’t a greatly exciting race at first. Our favorites moved their way up front in the first 30laps and seemed to be in for a decent day. Biding their time, riding the race near the front and waiting for Go Time. Which was over 100 laps away.
We kept our eye on our favorite series drivers too. Even though they weren’t in the Chase there were reasons to cheer them on to a win. In my case, that mean hoping Tony Stewart could pull out a win on this final race of the season in order to keep his 15 consecutive seasons with at least 1 win, alive. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. A very ill handling car dropped Smoke to the back of the field and one lap down. Eventually it was time to let it go. He was facing going down another lap, the car was falling apart and there more happy events to take in at the end of this race.
Namely, cheering on his driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevy, Kevin Harvick. If Kevin could win, it’s another Championship for Stewart-Haas Racing. But it’s Kevin’s first Championship in the Sprint Cup Series.
Smoke took his #14 Chevy to the garage and parked it for the night. He had plenty of time to head to his bus and take a shower to slip into his Car Owner uniform for SHR. Meanwhile back out on the track Kevin Harvick had been quietly riding in the top 5 all night, holding his place for the final laps and the win.
50laps to go, things got exciting. All four contenders were racing hard. They had been in the top 10 in one place or another during the entire race. Ryan Newman started the day from the farthest spot back in the field. But it wasn’t long before he made his way into the top 10 as well.
Logano seemed to be the only one in the final four who had serious issues both on and off the track in the pits. He rubbed the wall and created some aero-dynamic damage to the rear of the car. Things seemed to go down hill from there, but he remained in the top 10 most of the night. Then under caution, with 18 laps to go the jack dropped on the left side of the #22 car. The crew had a terrible time getting it lifted back up and completing the stop. He restarted last, but on the lead lap.
Denny became the next victim of circumstance. The #11 Team decided to stay out, while others took two or four tires with only a hand full of laps to go. Denny kept the lead but Ryan Newman wasn’t far behind. Kevin Harvick restarted outside the top 10, but he was the only one who took 4 tires in that round of stops. Before that first lap ended, Kevin was up into the top 10 before another caution flew.
This time others pitted and allowed Kevin to restart closer to the lead pack. As the green flew again, Denny struggled on the restart. A whole opened and Kevin drove straight through it. Turns out that was the pass for the lead and Kevin never looked back for Denny.
Another caution came out and by the time the field had come back to the green there were only 3 laps remaining. Kevin took the lead with Ryan Newman on his inside. The two challengers continued to vie for that coveted top spot around the first turn and onto the backstretch. But Harvick eventually muscled his way into 1st. My man-child’s favorite RocketMan wasn’t going to give up hope. There were two laps to go!
No matter how strong Kevin looked, Ryan was right there. Riding up high on the turns and trying to use that momentum to get to the inside and take the lead. That didn’t work, back up on the high side and trying to stay there and get momentum on the outside. That wasn’t working either. Kevin and Ryan both worked hard on that final lap. It wasn’t a question of who wanted it more, or who had the better car. They both seemed very matched in that scenario.
But when the final checkered flag flew, it was Kevin Harvick who had the advantage and ended the Ford EcoBoost 400 championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway in first. The New NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion for 2014!
Kevin started 5th and won, both the race and the championship.
Ryan started 21st and finished the race 2nd.
Denny started 8th and finished the race 7th.
Joey started 9th and finished the race 16th.
Nearly exactly how we would have wanted them to finish.
Congratulations to everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing, the #4Crew and Kevin Harvick our 2014 NASCAR Sprint cup Champion! Woohooooo!!!!!
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