Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Driver Finishes 43rd; SHR Wins Sprint Cup Title with Harvick
Date: Nov. 16, 2014
Event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Finale (Round 36 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 28th/43rd (Overheating, completed 182 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 25th with 799 points
Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Chevrolet)
Champion: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Chevrolet)
For Tony Stewart the driver, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway was forgettable. An overheating engine dropped him out of the race early, leaving Stewart with a 43rd-place finish.
But for the Tony Stewart who co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, Sunday at Homestead was unforgettable as SHR’s Kevin Harvick took the win and the series championship.
With a damaged front grill from contact earlier in the 267-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval, Stewart’s No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS began to overheat. With the oil and water temperatures pegged, Stewart was forced to take his car off the racetrack and into the garage. After completing 182 laps, Stewart’s day was over, at least as a driver.
Harvick, meanwhile, was on his way to a thrilling victory. In his signature red No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, Harvick led four times for 54 laps en route to his fifth win of the season and the 28th of his career. He held off a hard-charging Ryan Newman to collect his first Sprint Cup win at Homestead but, even more importantly, his first Sprint Cup championship.
“It’s just an unbelievable feeling to do this with a good friend in Kevin Harvick, and along with Gene Haas, who believed in us to come and be a partner with him, and everybody at Chevrolet, Budweiser, Jimmy John’s, Outback Steakhouse, Mobil 1 and ditech who have helped make the No. 4 team into the championship-winning team that it is today,” Stewart said. “All four of our race teams work together, and with our great partnership with Hendrick engines and chassis, this is the result of hard work.”
Harvick’s victory was the 25th point-paying win for SHR since the team’s inception in 2009, and his championship was the organization’s second, as Stewart scored the company’s first title in 2011.
“It is so hard to win a championship at this level, and NASCAR in general, and especially with this Chase format,” Stewart said. “Every week it showed how intense it was, how much pressure there was on the drivers, the crew chiefs, the crew members, the pit crews. It’s just unbelievable how much everything had to go right and how special it was when big moments happened.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 11th to notch his 18th top-15 of the season.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Florida Lottery/GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 18th to collect her 14th top-20 of 2014.
Newman finished .500 of a second behind Harvick in the runner-up spot, while Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five. Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon comprised the remainder of the top-10.
The 2015 Sprint Cup season kicks off Feb. 13-22 with the traditional Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 57th Daytona 500, the first point-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 22 and will be broadcast live on FOX.