Harvick Earns 2014 NSCS Championship With Win at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent at Homestead-Miami Speedway by winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale. It was the 25th points-paying Sprint Cup win for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s sixth this season.
The result allowed Harvick to capture his first Sprint Cup championship, as he finished ahead of fellow title contenders Ryan Newman (second), Denny Hamlin (seventh) and Joey Logano (16th). It is the second Sprint Cup title for SHR. Tony Stewart won the organization’s first championship in 2011.
Harvick led four times for 54 laps en route to his fifth win of the season, his 28th career Sprint Cup win, his first in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Homestead.
Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest:
Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS team scored the win in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With that effort, he secured the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Harvick started the race from the fifth position and took the lead for the first time at lap 15. Crew chief Rodney Childers called for adjustments throughout the race to help improve the car’s handling as the sun set and track conditions changed. Harvick remained inside the top five until the caution flag waved at lap 247.
Childers called Harvick to pit road at lap 249 for four tires and fuel. Some teams stayed out while others opted for just two tires, which put Harvick back in the 12th position when the green flag waved at lap 252.
Harvick raced his way up to seventh before the caution flag waved again at lap 254. When the field went back to green at lap 258, Harvick quickly moved up to second and took over the point position with seven laps to go. The caution flag waved once again at lap 261, setting the field up for a shootout to the finish.
Harvick retained the lead and took the checkered flag with a 0.500-second margin of victory over fellow championship contender Ryan Newman. Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurry completed the top-five positions.
Harvick’s win over Newman secured the Bakersfield, California, native his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. Newman, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Keselowski round out the top-five spots in the standings.
Harvick’s effort marks the second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship for Stewart-Haas Racing and the second series title for Budweiser. The King of Beers last celebrated a championship in NASCAR’s top series in 1985 with Darrell Waltrip and the No. 11 Budweiser Chevrolet team.
Harvick on winning the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship:
“You know, I think as you go back in time and you just really think about everything that’s led up to this point, this is what we race for. You show up to race for the Sprint Cup championship trophy, and to be able to come here in our first year with Gene (Haas) and Tony (Stewart) and Rodney (Childers) and all these guys on the team, you really have been able to experience something that you don’t get to experience very often.
“And in the end, it’s really about the people. I can drive the car, but these guys have made some bold decisions, whether it be on the pit box tonight, changing the pit crew, whatever it may be. You get to be a part of something from the beginning, and for me that was what I was looking for, to be a part of something that you could build from day one, and you felt like you knew everything that was going on for the most part.
“I got to race with just a good group of guys. I’m just really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. They’ve been just phenomenal through this process. They’ve all been through it, and for the most part our team has not. But a lot of these guys on our team hadn’t won a race, either.
“To come in here and be able to have that experience and guidance as a driver, I’ve never really looked at — you’ve been frustrated in some of the situations, but as we’ve raced the cars and experienced the situations, I just feel like this format was made for us this year because of the fact that we had to build a new team. We made some mistakes along the way. I don’t think any of us ever dreamed of making all those mistakes in front of the world, leading races and the things that we were doing. But in the end I feel like it all built up to this moment to be able to experience and handle the things that we did today.”
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 points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 22 and will be broadcast live on FOX.