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Yeley will compete full-time with team beginning with March 9 race at Las Vegas
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J.J . Yeley shows his displeasure with Trevor Bayne after an incident that sent Yeley into the fence at Watkins Glen.
J.J . Yeley has a right-front tire go down, sending him hard into the wall and out of the race.
Get the latest J. J . Yeley news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Victory clinches NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship RELATED: Complete race results " Final driver standings " Photos from Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla.—The fastest driver doesn't always win a race—or a championship—but on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway , Kevin Harvick did both. Driving a No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet that has been the class of the field for most of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Harvick won Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at the 1.5-mile intermediate track and claimed his first premier series championship after a three-lap drag race against underdog title contender Ryan Newman . Harvick was so wrapped up in the championship battle that the victory in the race didn't register right away. "I forgot we won the race—how about that?" Harvick chuckled. "I think this Chase is about the best thing that has happened to this sport over the last decade. This is probably going to shorten the drivers' careers, because it's been so stressful, but I want to thank every single fan for sticking with this sport, and to the industry for working to get it right." After the 13th caution slowed the field on Lap 263, the result of debris dripping from the No. 32 Ford of Blake Koch , Harvick led the field to green on Lap 265 of 267 with Newman beside him. Newman stayed to the inside of Harvick's car through the first corner, but Harvick, on four fresh tires to Newman's two, cleared the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and pulled away to a half-second victory. Under NASCAR's new elimination format for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the driver who won five times, including Sunday, and led 2,137 laps throughout the season beat the driver who was winless with 41 laps led by a single point. In his first season with SHR, Harvick won for the first time at Homestead and for the 28th time in his career. With the highest finisher among the Championship 4 contenders assured of the title, Denny Hamlin came home seventh, and Joey Logano ran 16th after a disastrous late-race pit stop. Harvick's crew chief, Rodney Childers, made a critical call to bring Harvick to pit road for four tires under caution on Lap 249. With three cars staying on the track and eight others taking right-side tires only, Harvick restarted 12th, but two quick cautions fell his way. Harvick made up six positions almost immediately and restarted sixth after the 12th caution for an accident involving Koch and J.J . Yeley on Lap 255. "I knew I needed to get a bunch of (positions)," Harvick said. "I was fortunate to start on the outside. The seas kind of parted there as I came off of Turn 2 and was about to get four or five of them; I don't really know, but it was time to go for broke at that particular point. "When the next caution came out, we were fortunate enough again to line up on the outside (for the restart on Lap 259). That was pretty much what we needed—to get the run on the outside down the backstretch." On the final restart against Harvick, Newman said he contemplated the sort of all-or-nothing move he had used a week earlier against Kyle Larson to edge Jeff Gordon by one point for the final position in the Championship 4 Round. But Newman quickly thought better of the idea. "In the end, I just got down underneath him and he was close enough to me, took some of the air away from me," Newman said. "I could have kept it wide open and washed up into him, and it wasn't the right move. It wasn't what I would have wanted him to do to me. "If we were close enough on the last lap, it might have been a different game, but I wasn't. I slipped off of Turn 4 coming to the white, and at that point it was pretty much over. I really was hoping he would slip a tire, blow a motor, something like that. That was our only hope. All those things go through your mind, but I had a pretty good run and cut down to the bottom and just ran out of racetrack, ran out of room, and he had the air—he had the line." Hamlin, who forewent a pit stop on Lap 249 when most of the other lead-lap cars came to pit road, restarted in the lead on Lap 259, with Newman second and Harvick sixth, but Hamlin's No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota quickly fell victim to cars on superior tires. By the time NASCAR called the 13th caution on Lap 262, Hamlin had dropped to third behind Harvick and Newman, and he fell back to seventh in the final three-lap run. "For me, there's not one thing I would have done different," Hamlin said. "I mean, we brought a car that was capable of winning. I just don't know how to express it enough. Sometimes breaks go your way; sometimes they don't. They just didn't go our way. "There's not much else we could have done with the strategy that we played with the cautions that came out. I wouldn't do a thing different. I think we overachieved greatly by being here, and we haven't had the speed to compete for race wins all year, and we did today, on the race that really mattered. Just came up short." Logano's first flirtation with a title came to an inglorious end when the No. 22 Team Penske Ford fell off the jack as the crew was changing left-side tires under caution on Lap 249. Last out of the pits, Logano restarted 29th on Lap 253 and could recover only to 16th by the checkered flag. "It's hard to be proud right now after coming home wherever we finished in this race," said Logano, who gets credit for fourth in the championship standings despite winning five races. "I don't even know what that is. I don't even care. "You don't get shots at championships often. Hopefully we get another next year. This car had a lot of wins and a lot of top fives, and it doesn't mean a thing." Gordon, the Coors Light Polesitter, led 161 laps, but came to pit road for tires on Lap 256 and wasn't a factor the rest of the way, finishing 10th. Notes: Kyle Larson finished 13th and was the runaway winner of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award after an outstanding freshman season… Marcos Ambrose finished 27th in his final race for Richard Petty Motorsports before returning to his native Australia to race V8 Supercars for owner Roger Penske… The victim of an early accident, Carl Edwards ran 34th in his final trip in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford before moving to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. It was also the last race as a crew chief for Edwards' veteran pit boss, Jimmy Fennig… Chevrolet won its 12th straight manufacturers’ championship and 38th overall. 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See who will be on track at Homestead in the final Nationwide Series race RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 01 Landon Cassill Johnny Davis Dave Fuge 14 Chevrolet Flex Seal 2 2 Brian Scott Richard Childress Phil Gould 14 Chevrolet Shore Lodge 3 3 Ty Dillon Richard Childress Danny Stockman Jr 14 Chevrolet WESCO 4 4 Jeffrey Earnhardt Gary Keller Gary Cogswell 14 Chevrolet GCL/Polyglass 5 5 Josh Berry Rick Hendrick Ernie Cope 14 Chevrolet Ragu 6 6 Trevor Bayne Jack Roush Chad Norris 14 Ford AdvoCare 7 7 Regan Smith Kelley Earnhardt-Miller Ryan Pemberton 14 Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 8 9 Chase Elliott Dale Earnhardt Jr Greg Ives 14 Chevrolet NAPA AUTO PARTS 9 10 Ross Chastain(i) Mark Smith Bruce Cook 14 Toyota watermelon.org 10 11 Elliott Sadler J D Gibbs Chris Gayle 14 Toyota OneMain Financial 11 12 Ryan Blaney(i) Roger Penske Greg Erwin 14 Ford Discount Tire 12 14 Eric McClure Mark Smith Wes Ward 14 Toyota Hefty Ultimate / Reynolds Wrap 13 16 Ryan Reed Jack Roush Seth Barbour 14 Ford ADA Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes 14 17 Tanner Berryhill Adrian Berryhill Daniel Stillman 14 Toyota New Gulf Resources 15 19 Mike Bliss Mark Smith Paul Clapprood 14 Toyota Tweaker Energy Shot 16 20 Matt Kenseth(i) Joe Gibbs Kevin Kidd 14 Toyota GameStop 17 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Roger Penske Jeremy Bullins 14 Ford Hertz 18 23 Robert Richardson Jr Robert Richardson Sr George Church 14 Chevrolet TBD 19 25 John Wes Townley(i) Tony Townley Mike Ford 14 Toyota No. 25 Zaxby's Toyota 20 226 Jake Crum(i) Marc Browning Marc Browning 14 Chevrolet MyFreedomSmokes.com 21 28 J J Yeley James Whitener Steve Plattenberger 13 Dodge Texas 28 Spirits Stage 22 31 Dylan Kwasniewski Steve Turner Shannon Rursch 14 Chevrolet Rockstar / AccuDoc 23 33 Scott Lagasse Jr Richard Childress Nick Harrison 14 Chevrolet Grainger 24 36 TBA Beth Baldwin Zach McGowan 14 Chevrolet Accell / East West 25 39 Ryan Sieg Rod Sieg Kevin Starland 14 Chevrolet Huntinator 26 40 Matt Dibenedetto Curtis Key Sr Kyle Symington 14 Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 27 42 Kyle Larson(i) Harry Scott Jr Scott Zipadelli 14 Chevrolet Cartwheel by Target 28 43 Dakoda Armstrong Richard Petty Philippe Lopez 14 Ford WinField 29 44 Blake Koch Mark Smith Greg Conner 14 Toyota Celsius Flo Fusion 30 46 Ryan Ellis Curtis Key Sr Gary Showalter 14 Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 31 51 Jeremy Clements Tony Clements Ricky Pearson 14 Chevrolet All South Electric- Repairable Vehicals 32 52 Joey Gase Jimmy Means Tim Brown 14 Chevrolet TBA 33 54 Kyle Busch(i) J D Gibbs Adam Stevens 14 Toyota Monster Energy 34 55 David Starr Jimmy Dick Jason Miller 14 Chevrolet Niece Eqiupment 35 60 Chris Buescher Jack Roush Scott Graves 14 Ford Humalog 36 62 Brendan Gaughan Richard Childress Shane Wilson 14 Chevrolet South Point 37 70 Derrike Cope Mary Louise Miller Bobby Burrell 14 Chevrolet Charlie's Soap/YOUTHEORY 38 172 John Jackson James Carter Richard Garcia 14 Chevrolet Crash Claims R US 39 74 Kevin Lepage Mike Harmon Gary Ritter 12 Dodge MHR 40 87 Milka Duno Andrea Nemechek Steven Gray 14 Toyota CAN TV 41 190 Martin Roy Michelle Gosselin Mario Gosselin 14 Chevrolet Gamache Truck Center 42 91 Jeff Green Mark Smith Todd Myers 14 Toyota SupportMilitary.org 43 93 Kevin Swindell Gregg Mixon Ken Evans 13 Dodge JGL Racing 44 98 Corey LaJoie(i) Fred Biagi Jon Hanson 14 Ford Medallion Financial/Smithfield 45 99 James Buescher Robby Benton Matthew Lucas 14 Toyota Rheem MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
In first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick delivers title RELATED: Full race results " Final series standings " How other three drivers came up short HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Won and done. Crack open a Bud, bud. Kevin Harvick is the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver survived a furious finish to Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway , winning the race (his 28th) and the title (his first). He did it in the fashion that has become expected from the No. 4 team this season, with smart pit decisions, pure speed and a whole lot of talent behind the wheel. "I don't know what to say," Harvick, 38, offered up in Victory Lane. "It came down to a pit call and I was (thinking), 'Man, we are in big trouble here.' " That unfolded some 15 laps before the finish of the 267-lap race. A lot can happen in just a few laps of a NASCAR event. Sunday's race was no exception. At the time, Harvick was 12th, the deepest he'd been in the field all day. His only competition -- fellow Chase contenders Denny Hamlin , Ryan Newman and Joey Logano -- had him surrounded. Which wasn't exactly a good thing for Logano. Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), under the call of crew chief Darian Grubb, had passed on the opportunity for fresh tires under the 11th caution period of the race and restarted second, behind leader Jeff Gordon . Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) had pitted, taking only two tires and was fourth. An issue with the team's jack -- the issue being the car fell off the jack -- took Logano from sixth to 29th, all but ending any hope the Team Penske driver had of claiming the title. To get from Point A (15 to go) to Point B (Victory Lane) took two more cautions, and in between Harvick did what he has often done best. The four fresh tires helped him gain five spots before J.J . Yeley and Blake Koch crashed to slow the action; he was sixth on the restart (after some chose to pit) before he shot inside Newman to take second. With eight laps remaining, he blew past Hamlin and into the lead. From sixth to first in four laps, and then a final caution that set up a three-lap dash with three of the four title contenders -- Harvick, Newman and Hamlin -- running 1-2-3. Newman gave it his best shot, but Harvick wasn't being caught. Hamlin faded to wind up seventh, betrayed in the end by a senior set of tires. A native of Bakersfield, California, Harvick became just the second driver to win the championship by winning the season-ending race at HMS. Fittingly perhaps, the only other driver to accomplish the feat was teammate and co-team owner Tony Stewart . "I think he's definitely a game changer," Stewart said of Harvick. "The talent has been there." Although he had finished third in the points standings three of the past four seasons at RCR, Harvick decided his best opportunity to win a title was at SHR. Paired with crew chief Rodney Childers, himself a newcomer to SHR, the team won early and late, but more importantly the team won when it counted. And never did it count more than Sunday evening. "When it came down to that (four-tire call), I didn't even flinch," said crew chief Rodney Childers, himself a former racer. "I thought that was the right thing to do." Flawless work by the pit crew had kept Harvick near the front or leading (he led four times for 54 laps), but Childers said the last trip to pit road wasn't clean. It turned out for the best, however. "We got to line up on the outside where we needed to be," he said. "We had had a fast car all night and had to restart third (on the inside) every single restart it seemed like, and that was the worst place to be. "Once we got lined up ... I thought that I had made the wrong decision and had let my team down and had given the whole year away." A less experienced driver would have been fuming. A driver with a questionable car would have yelled. But Harvick knew the score. "A lot of concern," he said, "I knew we had good tires but you just don't know how the guys are going to fire off (on the restart), if everything is going to get jumbled up and how far behind you're going to get. "I think the second restart (after the pit stop) was the key to being able to take advantage of those tires. We were fortunate to be able to line up on the outside of both of those." Harvick said he doesn't remember making the pass for the lead. It wasn't until he was coming to the white flag, when spotter Tim Fedewa clicked the radio that the realization of what he and his team had accomplished began to set in. Fedewa's message? "Alright, two more corners. You've got an eight car-length lead, just two more decent corners and bring this thing home," Harvick said. "As I was coming to the checkered flag, (Fedewa) said 'You are the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion.' "That's an unbelievable feeling. It still hasn't sunk in because you go right from that emotion of running the race and everything you have going on straight to this (post-race celebration). So you don’t even really have time to stop … you don't know how it happened and you don't really know what you need to do to understand what you've accomplished as a team. "It's hard to take it all in but that was the coolest moment so far, hearing that on the radio." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation