AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kevin Harvick dominated the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and collected his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win of the season. It was the 13th time that Team Chevy captured the top two finishing positions this year. Harvick’s win also marks the 19th victory for Chevrolet in 2014.
In dominating fashion, Harvick led 264 of the 312-lap race to earn back-to-back wins at PIR for the second time in his NSCS career. He also swept the races at the 1.0-mile track in 2006. The victory advances the driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet SS to the ‘Championship’ round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"Congratulations to Kevin Harvick, Rodney Childress and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS team on a clutch win today that locked them into the championship race next week at Homestead,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The whole team was focused on delivering a win today.”
Harvick will be joined in the ‘Championship’ round of the Chase by fellow Team Chevy driver Ryan Newman, who fought a loose-handling No. 31 CAT Mining Chevrolet SS in the latter stages of the 312-mile contest at PIR. He took an 11th-place finish, which was enough to clinch a spot in the crowning round of the Chase.
Both Harvick and Newman will compete for their first-ever career NSCS championship title.
"We are very proud to have two Chevrolet SS drivers in the championship battle at the season finale,” continued Campbell. “Congratulations to Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy SS team on making it to the final four.”
Jeff Gordon battled hard all day behind the wheel of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to earn his seventh runner-up finish of 2014. However, the effort was not enough to move him to the ‘Championship’ round. The four-time NSCS champion missed the opportunity to vie for the title by one point.
"Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team put together an incredible year with four wins,” added Campbell. “They made a valiant effort to battle for the final four. Although they did not advance, Jeff and his team members are consummate professionals and we are so proud they are part of the Chevrolet family.”
Non-chaser’s Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS earned top-10 finishing positions when the checkered flag flew at PIR by finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
Matt Kenseth (Toyota), Brad Keselowski (Ford) and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers in the race.
Harvick and Newman will be joined by Hamlin and Joey Logano (Ford) as the four remaining Chase drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The highest finisher of these four drivers will be crowned the 2014 NSCS champion.
The final race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway will take the green flag on Sunday, November 16 at 3 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast live on ESPN, MRN, andSirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS
RODNEY CHILDERS, Crew Chief
GENE HAAS, Stewart-Haas Racing Co-Owner
GREG ZIPADELLI, VP of Competition, Stewart-Haas Racing
KERRY THARP: Let's roll right into hearing from today's race?winning team, and that was the driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet over at Stewart?Haas Racing, Kevin Harvick's team, joined by Gene Haas, Greg Zipadelli from Stewart?Haas Racing, and crew chief Rodney Childers.
Gene, congratulations on having a driver make it to the Championship Round of the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. How does that feel knowing that you'll have a very good opportunity to win a championship down there this next weekend?
GENE HAAS: Yeah, I'll tell you, it hasn't fully set in. I think at the beginning of the day, whether we win or lose, it was a heck of a first?year season. I mean, that team with Rodney and Kevin was fast out of the gate. I mean, unbelievable to do this in our first year.
KERRY THARP: Greg Zipadelli, certainly a lot of hard work over at the race shop put in to get this team where it has been this year, and certainly very, very fast race cars week in and week out. Just talk about the significance of having the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet from Stewart?Haas Racing competing for the championship next Sunday at Homestead?Miami.
GREG ZIPADELLI: Yeah, what can you say? It's awesome. They have earned it. They've had fast race cars, like you've said, since the beginning of the year. Couldn't be prouder of this group for jumping in and actually being the leaders of our company. I mean, they have stepped up to the plate, Kevin and Rodney have done a phenomenal job, won a bunch of races and could have won a bunch more with the speed that they have built in these race cars. Their chemistry speaks for itself as far as how quickly they got along and learned each other, and it's been pretty special. It's been fun to watch.
KERRY THARP: Rodney, congratulations on this, your first year over there working with Kevin at Stewart?Haas. You're competing for the championship. You had a dominant race car here today. You recorded a 150.0 perfect driver rating, and that doesn't happen too often in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. That shows you how on top of it you were today. What's your thoughts about winning this race today and how you set your sights on the championship?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, just really proud of everybody, really, everybody at the shop, everybody on our race team, and the guys at the engine shop and everybody, really. I guess the biggest thing is nobody ever put their heads down, and everybody worked really, really hard. After Martinsville, we came in that Monday morning, it was like a normal day, and we went to work, and it was just a huge team effort.
Kevin has done an excellent job at this place. I think his results show that, and he makes it easy on us a little bit. But the guys at the shop and everybody involved have built really good race cars all year, and just proud to be involved in it. Like you said, the first year here, I don't know if we would have ever thought exactly what we'd have done. We had goals of doing exactly what we've done, but until you get going into the season, you just don't know that.
Just a lot of fun, and really looking forward to next week.
Info courtesy of Team Chevy Racing News