Kevin Harvick talks about the strategy that helped him get the win at Chicagoland Speedway.
Kevin Harvick uses a late race restart to win the Jimmy Johns Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Change between No. 4, No. 14 teams effective immediately RELATED: Play Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Stewart-Haas Racing officials announced major changes to the pit crew of the organization's No. 4 Chevrolet with driver Kevin Harvick as the team prepares for this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. According to SHR officials, Harvick will be paired with the over-the-wall crew previously teamed with three-time champion and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart . Stewart, who did not qualify for the Chase, will compete in the season's final 10 races with what is now Harvick's former crew. "We made this change in the best interests of the entire organization," SHR Vice President of Competition Greg Zipadelli said. "Our primary goal is to win races and championships, and this pit crew swap provides championship experience to the No. 4 team and continued race-winning experience to the No. 14 team." With the 10-race Chase kicking off this weekend as Chicagoland Speedway hosts the MyAFibStory.com 400 (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET), Harvick could be in the best position to capture his first Sprint Cup title. Mechanical issues that kept the 38-year-old outside the top 20 in points through the first eight races have been addressed and his team continues to bring one of the fastest cars to the track each weekend. If there has been a soft spot in the system, it might be found on pit road. Harvick raced his way into the lead twice during the early stages of Saturday night's race at Richmond, only to lose the position during subsequent pit stops. "I can't fix them, but it's probably the biggest thing that we have to fix in order to contend for the championship," he said afterward. "I think our cars are as fast as they need to be. The guys do a great job of bringing fast cars every week. It's just one mistake after another every week on pit road." Harvick is making his eighth Chase appearance and his fifth in a row. His best points finish has been third, which he accomplished in 2010, '11 and '13 while competing for Richard Childress Racing . He enters this year's Chase seeded sixth among the 16 drivers in the field. He was the first to win multiple races this season in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series , making him the first to all but officially lock himself into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But Harvick's No. 4 Chevrolet hasn't been to Victory Lane since his victory at Darlington Raceway in April. Not that the team hasn’t been close. Harvick has finished second five times through this year's first 26 races, the most of any driver. He also was the runner-up in the Sprint All-Star Race, a non-points event. NASCAR measures how long teams spend on pit road during each race, and race winners typically are among the top five in the least amount of time. When he won at Phoenix, Harvick spent less time on pit road than any of the 43 drivers in the field. At Darlington, his total time was sixth best. Sometimes a loss of track position on pit road, whether due to a driver or crew-induced penalty or simply a slow stop, can be overcome on the race track. Often, however, it creates a frustrating scenario in which a driver has to maneuver around other cars he or she had already worked around previously, or it puts the driver in greater danger of getting swept up in someone else's troubles. Such was the case for Harvick earlier this year at Sonoma Raceway . After leading twice for 23 laps, a slow stop in the second half of the race dropped him outside the top 10. A chain-reaction incident at Lap 82 collected the No. 4 entry, and Harvick was left to hobble home with a 20th-place finish. He was dominant at Atlanta, leading 195 of 335 laps, but repeatedly lost the lead on pit road. And although he rolls into this weekend's race on the heels of a fifth-place finish at Richmond, he said at Richmond that the problems on pit road needed to be addressed before the Chase got under way. "Hopefully they have a plan as to what they think they need to do in the shop with the two teams in the Chase, but that's not my department," he said. Now, it seems, that plan has been put into place. The No. 4 team pit crew will now be: Front Tire Changer: Ira Jo Hussey " Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire Front Tire Carrier: Todd Drakulich " Hometown: Tucson, Arizona Jackman: Mike Casto " Hometown: Proctor, West Virginia Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith " Hometown: Concord, North Carolina Rear Tire Carrier: Mike Morneau " Hometown: Oxford, Maine All were members Stewart’s pit crew when he captured the 2011 Sprint Cup championship. Moving over to the No. 14 team: Front Tire Changer: Bryan Jacobsen " Hometown: Honesdale, Pennsylvania Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell " Hometown: Windham, Maine Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman " Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana Jackman: Getty Cavitt, Jr. " Hometown: Owensboro, Kentucky Rear Tire Carrier: Josh Sobecki " Hometown: New Kensington, Pennsylvania Harvick will be joined in the Chase by SHR teammate Kurt Busch , the 2004 Sprint Cup champion and a winner at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year. In addition to Stewart, SHR's Danica Patrick also failed to qualify for the 16-driver postseason field. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: NASCAR Chase Grid games WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
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Kevin Harvick talks about learning a lot for the NSCS race on Sunday.
Kevin Harvick expresses how proud he is of his team for giving him a bad fast race car that placed him in Victory Lane at Atlanta.
JR Motorsports shows strength in all three cars RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings HAMPTON, Ga. -- No wonder they call Kevin Harvick the "Closer." From the moment Harvick's No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet took the lead from polesitter Chase Elliott on Lap 37, Saturday night's Great Clips 300 to benefit Feed The Children at Atlanta Motor Speedway was an open-and-shut case. In posting his third NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season and the 43rd of his career, Harvick led the last 159 laps and finished 0.567 seconds ahead of runner-up Joey Logano . "This thing was bad fast from the drop of the green flag," Harvick said after finishing off a spectacular victory burnout and exiting the car. "This is just one of those race tracks where I like the challenge of everything you get to do here." The only factors preventing Harvick from lapping the field -- or so it seemed -- were a pair of debris cautions, the first of which erased a four-second lead after Harvick had paced the field from Laps 37 through 72. The second caution flag, which flew on Lap 120, wiped out a Harvick advantage that was close to seven seconds. A light rain extended that second caution to 13 laps, but after a restart on Lap 134, it was more of the same. Harvick quickly pulled out to a lead of more than four seconds before a cycle of green-flag pit stops trimmed his advantage to two seconds over Logano, the only driver able to keep pace with Harvick throughout the closing laps. Kyle Larson ran third, followed by Kyle Busch and Elliott, who extended his series lead to 15 points over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith , who finished sixth. Logano's car came to life in the closing laps but not soon enough for him to catch Harvick . "I took off that last run and started to catch Kevin a little bit and then started to get too tight," Logano said. "He started driving away a little bit, and then the last six or seven laps, all of a sudden the light switch turned on and I started catching him. "I just ran out of time. I wish there were five or seven more laps, and I could have got to him and tried to do something with him. We were catching him two or three tenths (of a second) a lap there at the end and having some fun with it, but it was too little, too late." In Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series time trials, Harvick won the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's Oral-B USA 500 at the 1.54-mile speedway. Though there are vast differences in the behavior of NNS versus Cup cars, Harvick's ability to run the bottom at Atlanta might be an indication of good things to come on Sunday. "I'm really happy with our car," Harvick said. "It's been good in every practice and obviously qualified well. You just have to have it all go your way. These races are hard to win, so we'll just enjoy this one tonight and go from there." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceVie FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Stewart-Haas Racing drivers react to Tony Stewart's return RELATED: Full coverage of Tony Stewart incident HAMPTON, Ga. -- Normalcy for Tony Stewart may still be months or years away, if it ever comes at all. But his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates believe his return to racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway after his involvement in a tragic accident earlier this month at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that took the life of fellow sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. is a step in that direction. While some of the focus surrounding the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be how he handles once again sitting in the cockpit of the No. 14 Chevrolet for the first time since a 36th-place finish at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 3, his SHR stablemates are more focused on offering their boss -- and more importantly, their friend and teammate -- the emotional support necessary to return his life to some form of regularity. "I'm least concerned about the racing side of it," Kevin Harvick said Friday at AMS. "I know for him, that'll be great medicine to have some type of normal activity in his life again that he hasn't been able to have. From a personal standpoint, I'm glad to see my friend and be able to talk to him and be able to support him through what will probably end up being the hardest situation he's ever had to go through in his entire life. That to me is the most important thing, and I just can't wait to see him." Harvick and teammate Danica Patrick haven't spoken to Stewart since the organization announced Thursday that he would make his return to racing, but both are eager to see him around the 1.54-mile speedway. Given that the incident is still so fresh in the minds of everyone involved, it begs the question: Is he ready to return? "I don't think he'd be here if he didn't feel like he was ready," said Harvick , flanked by a Chevrolet SS pace car painted pink in an effort to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society's fight against breast cancer. "He's got a lot of great people around him and a lot of support." Patrick agreed that getting back out there is the first step in Stewart's recovery, a completely different and more difficult rehabilitation process than his reformation after a broken leg sidelined him last August and kept him out for the remainder of the 2013 season. "Obviously, time will tell how it feels to him, but coming back is the first step to seeing that something helps him feel better," said Patrick, in her second year with SHR. "I'm sure being at home and dealing with the thoughts and everything from the tragic accident isn't normal. Something that is a little bit normal, again, I'm sure will be helpful. "We all want to see Tony back in the car. We want to see him back doing what he loves doing, but there's no timeline on when you work through a tragic accident like he went through, but we're all here for him." When Patrick says "we're all," it extends to more than just those involved in the SHR organization. NASCAR has long been a large, extended family, especially when it comes to the close-knit community that exists within the garage. Over the past few weeks, many drivers have offered vocal support of Stewart, embracing their friend and competitor's character and demeanor. "I think everybody (in the garage) has obviously been concerned and wants to support Tony in every way possible," Harvick said. "It's just everybody has waited to see when this day was going to be and obviously Tony knew when it was time for him to come back to the race track and be a part of getting in the car again. So, we'll support him and hopefully get him running good and have a good weekend. "I'm excited to have my friend back. I don't really care about the racing side of it. I'm just happy to have my friend back and able to talk to him and hug him and support him. That's the part I'm looking forward to the most." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule