Harvick Dominates In Win At California

JR Motorsports | 3/22/2015

California Chase Elliott Kevin Harvick NAPA News Race Report Regan Smith Suave TaxSlayer Victory Lane XFINITY Series

Kevin Harvick led 100 of 150 laps en route to his 46th career NASCAR XFINITY Series win. The victory Saturday afternoon was his second win of 2015 and his first ever NXS win at Auto Club Speedway.

Race 5 of 33: Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway

Track Specs: 2-mile oval / 200 laps

Weather: Sunny; 81 deg.

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

Harvick’s finish: 1st

Elliott’s finish: 4th

Smith’s finish: 9th

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick put on a dominant performance in Saturday’s Drive4Clots.com 300, leading 100 of 150 laps en route to his first NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) victory at the track. Harvick, drivie4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedwang the No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, earned his 46th career NXS victory and his second of 2015. The win is the Bakersfield, Calif. native’s sixth for JR Motorsports in only 18 races and marked the second career victory for Dave Elenz as a crew chief.

After starting sixth, Harvick radioed that he was fighting a loose handling condition on the TaxSlayer Chevy. When the first caution occurred on lap 34, Harvick pitted and Elenz called for significant adjustments to the No. 88 Camaro. Harvick restarted in the third spot on lap 37 and jumped to the lead before the end of the lap.

Following the second caution on lap 48, the TaxSlayer.com driver fended off several challengers, including Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr., who both took the lead briefly before Harvick regained it on lap 55. The two-time NXS champion gave up the top spot to make a green-flag pit stop on lap 76, but by lap 87 he returned to the lead, which he maintained for the remainder of the 150-lap event.

The win advances the No. 88 team to second in the NXS owner’s standings, just eight points removed from the top spot. The victory was Harvick’s sixth for JRM, tying Brad Keselowski for most wins by a JRM driver, and giving JRM its 23rd overall NXS victory.

Following Harvick to the stripe were Brendan Gaughan, Jones, Chase Elliott and Chris Buescher.

Kevin Harvick, driver No. 88 TaxSlayer.com team

“Everybody on our TaxSlayer.com team and at JR Motorsports is doing a great job. I’m just the lucky guy that gets to drive these cars. I’m really proud of this team particularly, because we have a lot of new guys that have come together really fast, and we’re communicating and running well. The restarts were pretty fun. I got into the fence two or three times, but you had to really get aggressive on the restarts because everybody wanted to run in the same lane. All in all, just a good, smooth day. They did a great job on pit road getting me in and out, and Dave (Elenz) made some really good adjustments on the first pit stop and again on the last pit stop when we took the last set of tires. These guys are doing a great job and I know that every time we win a race, the pressure will become a little bit less and they will get a little bit more comfortable. It’s just a lot of fun to see new guys win races.”

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished fourth in Saturday’s Drive4clots.com 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Auto Club Speedway.  It was Elliott’s fourth straight top-10 finish, and doing so by picking up nine championship points on leader Ty Dillon.  Elliott now only trails first place in the standings by 15 points, just five races into the 2015 season.  JR Motorsports driver Kevin Harvick led a race-high 100 laps en route to his 46th XFINITY Series victory and second of the 2015 season.

After qualifying in the 13th position, Elliott moved forward quickly.  He drove his NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet to the seventh position by lap two.  The early consensus was Elliott being able maneuver around the bottom of the race track easier than the top.  Before coming to pit road for fuel, four tires and a chassis adjustment on lap 34, Elliott briefed crew chief Ernie Cope on his NAPA Camaro being tight, but manageable.

Approaching the halfway mark of 75 laps, Elliott, running in the 12th position, expressed to his team he had found something late in green flag run and believed it would benefit the NAPA team closer to the finish of the race. 

As Elliott moved around the No. 54 car of Denny Hamlin for ninth-place with 45 laps to go, Cope would bring Elliott down pit road for a scheduled green flag stop.  The NAPA KNOW HOW team packed the Chevy full of fuel and gave Elliott four fresh tires.  Fortunately for Elliott a caution flag fell 10 laps later, which sent him back to pit road for the last set of new tires, slating him in the 13th position on the following restart, just behind Brad Keselowski, who was also on four new tires.

On the final restart, with 29 laps to go, Keselowski (12th) and Elliott (13th) sliced through the field together.  In an effortless motion, Elliott picked up four spots on lap 125 to move him inside the top-five.  As Elliott ever-so methodically handles his race car, the 19-year-old eventually moved by the No. 22 of Keselowski for a gritty fourth place finish, making it his highest finishing position of the season and pushing him to third in the points standings with 28 races to go.

Harvick bested Brendan Gaughan, Erik Jones, Elliott and Chris Buescher to notch JRM’s second XFINITY Series victory of the season.

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“The four tires was a big difference in our speed.  Our car was by far the best at the end of the day.  I’m so proud of the effort and the way our team fought all day.  A big thanks to NAPA AUTO PARTS.  We showed a lot of fight today and I felt like Ernie (Ernie Cope, crew chief) made some good calls for us on pit road.  We were on the offensive side at times and I like that.  We kept adjusting on our car and there at the end we were by far the best we had been all day.  That’s what you have to do in order to take it to the next level.  We have to keep fighting, but feel like we are closer to getting to victory lane.”

Regan Smith

The Drive4Clots.com 300 opened with much promise for driver Regan Smith and the rest of the Suave Men Chevrolet team Saturday at Auto Club Speedway, but closed with the feeling that a potential victory slipped through their fingers. Smith’s Chevrolet Camaro could not shake a tight condition late in the race, and he finished ninth despite leading four laps and running in the top tier much of the day. It was his fourth top-10 finish in five races this season and third of the three-race West Coast swing to open the NASCAR XFINITY Series season.

Patience was the word of the day for Smith and crew chief Jason Burdett. After qualifying fifth, Smith’s Suave Men Camaro was loose going into the corners and tight coming off once the race started. The first pit stop, on lap 33, saw Burdett remove a spring rubber to help that, and it did.

That change woke the car up, and Smith started clicking off spots. After another yellow and four-tire stop on lap 47, the car came alive. Smith restarted 16th and within a handful of laps was up to ninth. New tires and heady driving took him up to sixth on lap 58, with fresher tires than his rivals and a clear shot at the top five.

As the leaders began pitting, Smith kept going, taking the lead on lap 78 and giving it up four laps later with his own stop. Unfortunately, the tight condition returned and Smith was unable to hold his spot in the top five. He battled on, scraping the wall at one point during the closing laps. The final restart on lap 121 saw Smith drop two spots to ninth, where he would eventually finish.

JR Motorsports teammate Kevin Harvick won the race in the No. 88 Chevrolet, followed by Brendan Gaughan, Erik Jones, JRM teammate Chase Elliott and Chris Buescher.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Suave Men team

“We were just too tight on exit all day long. Jason made a good call early to get me some track position, and we had a chance. We made good changes, and they would help for a while, but in the end, the nose wouldn’t stay planted. That last run, we were tight from the start. The Suave Men Chevy really liked leading the race, because of the clean air, but it was a dogfight all day long. You make one wrong move and get put in the middle groove, they keep coming and you’re losing spots. ”

 

 

No. 88 TaxSlayer.com

Chevrolet Camaro

Kevin Harvick

Start

6th

Finish

1st

Laps Completed (Led)

150 of 150 (100)

Points (Bonus)

48 (5)

Standings (from leader)

2nd (-8)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

13th

Finish

4th

Laps Completed (Led)

150 of 150 (0)

Points (Bonus)

40 (0)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-15)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 7 Suave Men

Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith 

Start

5th

Finish

9th  

Laps Completed (Led)

150 of 150 (4)

Points (Bonus)

36 (1)

Standings (from leader)

7th (-30)

Status

Running

Articles

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 23 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 30 01:00 PM ET
    Mid-Ohio 170Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • June 6 01:30 PM ET
    LTi Printing 250Michigan International Speedway
  • June 13 08:30 PM ET
    Iowa 250Iowa Speedway
  • June 20 04:00 PM ET
    Chicagoland 300Chicagoland Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After LS Tractor 200

Phoenix Raceway | 3/7/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Harrison Burton #1760
2Chase Briscoe173-3
3Austin Cindric155-21
4Brandon Jones148-28
5Ross Chastain146-30
6Noah Gragson143-33
7Ryan Sieg143-33
8Justin Haley140-36
9Justin Allgaier138-38
10Michael Annett119-57