Kevin Harvick Holds Field Off to Win Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300

Kevin Harvick Holds Field Off to Win Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300

by September 13, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images

JOLIET, Ill. — In a race that was greatly impacted by pit strategy, Kevin Harvick held off Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch to win the Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Harvick won his third career series race at Chicagoland and the eighth of the season for JR Motorsports by picking his way through the field on a late restart to take the checkered flag by 2.109 seconds. This win also makes for the fourth win of the year for Harvick and it also makes for a season sweep of Chicagoland by JR Motorsports.

Following Harvick across the line would be Larson, Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Trevor Bayne. Rounding out the top-10 of the race would be Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Regan Smith, Brian Scott, and Chase Elliott.

During his post-race press conference, Harvick credited crew chief Ernie Cope with the win due to a great pit call that put two tires on the No. 5 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet.

“This guy [Cope] is the one who won the race today,” Harvick said of his win. “He made a great call with two tires. The No. 54 got buried in the field and it felt like – at that particular point – it was our race to lose. Our car actually ran faster on two tires than it did on four tires. Just really excited and I feel like I learned a lot today and I’m just really looking forward to tomorrow as well.”

Larson would come home in the second position – making for his best Nationwide Series result since his win in the History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It was a good day for us,” Larson said. “We were second or third for the whole race. We could see the leaders just out in front of me for the whole race. The Colgate Chevy was fast. We started out in practice really tight and Zippy [Scott Zipadelli, crew chief] was able to get a hand on it there for qualifying. From the drop of the green, I knew we had a good car.

… Second place isn’t bad. We haven’t ran very [well] in the Nationwide Series for the last few weeks.”

Busch dominated a majority of the race by leading 141 of the 200 completed laps but would get shuffled back due to a miscue on pit road after a Lap 152 caution. Busch would cut his way through the field with plenty of haste but would ultimately come short with his car falling off of Harvick’s pace with around 10 laps to go.

Bayne would be the highest-finishing series regular of the race with his first top-five finish since the 300 at Chicagoland in July.

“Last year, this was a place where we really struggled,” Bayne said of his history at Chicagoland. “We came back in the [summer] with a totally different package and we were able to finish second. We brought that exact package and car back here today. We thought it would be a little bit better than it was. My car started out really tight in practice, tight in qualifying, and I started out the race tight compared to the last race here.

…it was a fun race for people to watch. I’m just glad to be back in the top-five and in contention here. Feels good after the last few weeks we’ve had.”

This year’s running of the Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 would feature 14 different lead changes amongst seven different leaders – Harvick, Busch, Scott, Elliott, Chris Buescher, Jeremy Clements, and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

A total of six cautions would come out throughout the race. Two for engine issues by Clements and Denny Hamlin, one for debris, one for Derrike Cope getting into the wall, one for Tanner Berryhill getting into the wall, and a competition caution that came out on Lap 27.

Elliott will remain as the points leader heading into next week’s race at Kentucky Speedway. The driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet will take an 18-point lead over teammate Smith to next Saturday’s 300 with seven races remaining in the Nationwide Series championship.

Top-10 Finishers of the Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300

  1. 5 – Kevin Harvick(i) – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  2. 42 – Kyle Larson(i) – Chevrolet – Turner Scott Motorsports
  3. 54 – Kyle Busch(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  4. 22 – Ryan Blaney(i) – Ford – Team Penske
  5. 6 – Trevor Bayne – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing
  6. 11 – Elliott Sadler – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  7. 3 – Ty Dillon# – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  8. 7 – Regan Smith – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  9. 2 – Brian Scott – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  10. 9 – Chase Elliott# – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports

Top-10 in the Drivers’ Standings after Round 26 of 33

  1. 9 – Chase Elliott# – JR Motorsports – 951 | Leader
  2. 7 – Regan Smith – JR Motorsports – 933 | -18
  3. 3 – Ty Dillon# – Richard Childress Racing – 911 | -40
  4. 11 – Elliott Sadler – Joe Gibbs Racing – 900 | -51
  5. 2 – Brian Scott – Richard Childress Racing – 895 | -56
  6. 6 – Trevor Bayne – Roush-Fenway Racing – 871 | -80
  7. 60 – Chris Buescher# – Roush-Fenway Racing – 780 | -171
  8. 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Richard Childress Racing – 751 | -200
  9. 16 – Ryan Reed# – Roush-Fenway Racing – 706 | -245
  10. 99 – James Buescher – RAB Racing – 697 | -254

# = Rookie, (i) = Ineligible for NASCAR Nationwide Series points.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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