No. 10 driver finished sixth at Atlanta in 2014, now ranks 18th in standings Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. -- Danica Patrick, 21st a week ago in the season-opening Daytona 500, returns to the site of her best finish in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this weekend as teams prepare for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Patrick, beginning her third season of full-time Sprint Cup competition, finished sixth here last August, one of four top-10 results since she debuted in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet. It's her fifth race with crew chief Daniel Knost after SHR made a crew chief swap late in the '14 season. Knost had previously worked with teammate Kurt Busch while Patrick's efforts had been under the direction of veteran Tony Gibson. "It went good the last time," Patrick said Friday of her last visit to the 1.54-mile track. "It probably sucked before that. That's just the way racing is -- sometimes you're good and sometimes you're not." Teams spent almost four hours on the track Thursday, testing the new 2015 rules package in two separate sessions. Patrick ended the first 18th on the board and was 14th in the final session. Patrick called Thursday's efforts "a good, steady day." "We found some things that were good and some ... that weren't as good," she said. "I feel like in a race weekend, if you can find one or two good changes to your race car that don't hurt it in ... any way but help it somewhere ... that you have a shot at a decent weekend and being competitive." Her first outing with Knost atop the pit box "was kind of a disaster," she said, referring to a 36th-place finish in the fall race at Texas last season. But the team closed the year with a 22nd-place result on the one-mile Phoenix layout and an 18th a week later in the season-ending stop at Homestead-Miami Speedway. She finished 28th in points, one spot below her 2013 results. At Daytona this year, where track position is often dictated by the whims of the draft, Patrick ran as high as the top 10 as well as outside the top 25. The same could be said for many of those competing in the season-opening event. She enters this weekend’s race 18th in the standings, with 83 career starts in the series. It's still a learning process, and the potential for continued improvement exists. "It is our unrealized potential that is exciting to me," she said. "It is my fourth year in stock cars (she ran a partial Sprint Cup schedule in '12 while competing fulltime in the XFINITY Series), and my third year in Cup. It's Daniel's sixth year in NASCAR and his second year as a crew chief. We don't have a ton of experience and you would think that there is only 'up' to go. "The potential of where we could end up and where we can get to is encouraging." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Carl Edwards talks about his new team with Joe Gibbs Racing and their 2015 season.
Gordon, Stewart, Kenseth and Johnson among those that couldn't get out Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live WATCH: Richard Buck explains inspection process HAMPTON, Ga. – Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano won the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Thirteen others didn't fare quite so well, never getting the opportunity to make a lap on the 1.54-mile track as Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 got underway. RELATED: Logano wins Coors Light Pole Award " Qualifying speeds Originally scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. ET, the start of qualifying for the season's second race was postponed 15 minutes due to the large number of cars still going through the pre-qualifying technical inspection process. According to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck, when officials gave notice that qualifying was underway, all 47 cars entered in the race had made at least one pass through inspection. "We did see the area of the laser inspection station where teams were pushing it," Buck said. "And that's their job. They're trying to get every bit that they can. "Our goal is to make sure everybody has a fair opportunity to get through there. Our focus was to make sure that we were able to run every car across there at least once … and that's what we did." Former series champions Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth were among those that didn't make it on track before the completion of the opening 15-minute qualifying round. "Yes we are pushing the limits," Gordon said, "but there is something wrong here. I'm embarrassed; I'm embarrassed for our series right now that this just happened." PHOTOS: Full starting lineup for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Kenseth said he got an inkling that something was amiss when he headed out to pit road and saw "only 14 cars." "So I have a hard time believing it was the teams," the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. Stewart took to Twitter to vent about what happened. I don't know what to say about today. Spent all of our practice working on qualifying. Didn't even get a chance to make a lap. Frustrating! — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) February 27, 2015 If we would have known this was going to happen, we could have worked on the race setup. Was a total waste of a day at the track — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) February 27, 2015 This weekend's Sprint Cup Series race is the first featuring the 2015 rules package, a package that includes less downforce on the cars and less horsepower under the hood, along with several other changes. As such, it was the first time teams made the trip through an official pre-qualifying inspection. Buck said it became evident all teams wouldn't be able to be through inspection in time for the original 5:45 p.m. start, which is why it was delayed for 15 minutes. "We could see the trend starting to develop … our job was to try and work with the teams (and) allow them to meet the parameters, the rules we set in place," he said. "So we were able to push it 15 minutes to give them as much time as we could." Defending series champion Kevin Harvick qualified second, while Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards completed the top five. Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify. MORE: Strange things afoot at Atlanta Motor Speedway Johnson, a six-time series champion, will start 37th. "We are at a track that's very forgiving from a starting position standpoint," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "If you have a good race car, you've got a lot of room here, you can run anywhere on the track and get your way to the front. (There will be) a lot of trips down pit road for tires. We'll have plenty of opportunities to get there. … "I think we're all standing here in shock, wondering how did this happen?" Buck said the number of cars having to make multiple trips through the inspection line was nearly double what the sanctioning body sees during a typical weekend. "Today we had at least 20 (go back through)," he said. "We had more cars here than we've had. "A new downforce package, new rules package, new under pan, less horsepower, and so there was a lot of things that were put into this recipe that the cooks, if you will, in the garage area were trying to get the recipe right, and they were pushing the edge on everything." Gordon will start 35th, Kenseth 36th and Stewart 39th. To determine the full 43-car starting lineup, positions 1-34 went to those drivers that posted at least one official qualifying lap. Positions 35-43 were assigned to those entered based on 2014 final championship driver points standings. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Organization earns second NASCAR premier series title Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship tonight at Homestead-Miami Speedway . It is Harvick's first Sprint Cup championship and the second for SHR since its inception in 2009. SHR won the 2011 Sprint Cup title with driver-owner Tony Stewart . The following are some anecdotes regarding the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champions. · This is Kevin Harvick 's eighth driving title in his 33 years of racing . His other titles are: -- 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship -- 2006 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship -- 2002 IROC Series Championship -- 2001 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship -- 1998 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Championship -- 1993 Late Model Track Championship at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, California -- 1987 World Karting Association National Championship -- 1985 World Karting Association National Championship · This is Rodney Childers first championship as a crew chief in NASCAR. · This is the second Sprint Cup championship as a car owner for team co-owners Stewart and Gene Haas. -- 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship with the No. 4 team of Harvick -- 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship with the No. 14 team of Stewart · This is Stewart's 21st overall championship as a car owner. -- Two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championships: -- 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship with Harvick -- 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship via himself -- Five World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Championships: -- 2014 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Championship with Donny Schatz -- 2012 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Championship with Schatz -- 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Championship with Schatz -- 2008 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Championship with Schatz -- 2001 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Championship with Danny Lasoski -- Fourteen USAC Championships: -- 2013 USAC Sprint Car Championship with Bryan Clauson -- 2013 USAC Silver Crown Championship with Bobby East -- 2011 USAC Sprint Car Championship with Levi Jones -- 2011 USAC Silver Crown Championship with Jones -- 2010 USAC Sprint Car Championship with Jones -- 2010 USAC Silver Crown Championship with Jones -- 2008 USAC Sprint Car Championship with Jones -- 2007 USAC Sprint Car Championship with Jones -- 2006 USAC Sprint Car Championship with Josh Wise -- 2005 USAC Silver Crown Championship with J.J. Yeley (Stewart co-owned team with Bob East) -- 2004 USAC Silver Crown Championship with Yeley (Stewart co-owned team with Bob East) -- 2003 USAC Sprint Car Championship with Yeley -- 2003 USAC Silver Crown Championship with Yeley (Stewart co-owned team with Bob East) -- 2002 USAC Silver Crown Championship with Yeley (Stewart co-owned team with Bob East) Anecdotes: · Harvick joins Bobby Labonte and Brad Keselowski as the only drivers to earn both a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. Harvick is a two-time Nationwide Series champion (2001 and 2006). · Harvick is only the third Sprint Cup driver since 2000 to lead more than 2,000 laps in a single season. Harvick led 2,137 laps in 2014. Jimmie Johnson led 2,238 laps in 2009 and Jeff Gordon led 2,320 laps in 2001. Both Johnson and Gordon went on to win the championship in those years. · Harvick led a lap in 27 of the 36 Sprint Cup races in 2014. His longest streak of consecutive races with at least one lap led was nine, beginning Aug. 23 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and continuing through the Oct. 19 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. His longest stretch of races without a single lap led was three, starting June 28 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta lasting through July 13 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. · The most laps Harvick led in a single Sprint Cup season prior to 2014 was 895 laps in 2006. · In nine seasons prior to 2014, teams led by crew chief Rodney Childers led a total of 879 laps. Among the seven drivers Childers worked with during this span, Mark Martin was the leader with 295 laps led during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. · Of the 24 track qualifying records set during the 2014 Sprint Cup season, Harvick accounted for six of them. No other driver had more than four. -- April 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Round 1: 27.234 seconds at 198.282 mph) -- May 9 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas Speedway (Round 2: 27.741 seconds at 194.658 mph) -- June 13 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (Round 3: 35.198 seconds at 204.557 mph) --This was the fastest pole-winning speed since April 1987 when Bill Elliott set the all-time Sprint Cup qualifying record of 212.809 mph at Talladega Superspeedway . -- July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Round 1: 47.753 seconds at 188.470 mph) -- Aug. 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Round 2: 14.607 seconds at 131.362 mph) -- Oct. 3 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (Round 2: 27.304 seconds at 197.773 mph) · Harvick won a career-high eight poles in 2014. In his previous 13 years as a Sprint Cup driver, Harvick won a total of six poles. -- April 11 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway -- May 9 at Kansas Speedway -- June 13 at Michigan International Speedway -- July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- Aug. 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway -- Aug. 29 at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- Sept. 26 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway -- Oct. 3 at Kansas Speedway · Harvick finished among the top-five in the Sprint Cup championship standings six times prior to 2014. His previous career-high point finish was third, which he did three times (2010, 2011 and 2013). · Harvick finished 25 of 36 Sprint Cup Series races with a driver rating better than 100.0, including four races with a driver rating better than 140.0. Harvick scored his only perfect driver rating (150.0) Nov. 9 at Phoenix International Raceway where he led three times for a race-high 264 laps en route to the victory. · Harvick ended the 2014 season as the leader in the following loop data categories: -- Driver Rating: 110.5 -- Fastest Early in Run: 4.710 -- Fastest Laps Run: 1,233 -- Fastest Green Flag Speed: 4.387 -- Most Laps Led: 2,137 -- Mileage Leader: 2,716.86 · Harvick's championship is the 30th driver title for Team Chevy in the Sprint Cup Series. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Get a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared in the Great American Race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live 1. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. "Sliced Bread" was a bit worried after Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski had car trouble, but it was all for nothing. Logano led 31 laps and didn't give up the lead from Lap 191 on as he carried all of the momentum from a breakout 2014 season into 2015. " WATCH: How Logano won the Daytona 500 2. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion had the fastest car during green-flag runs with an average speed of 198.102 mph, but didn't lead a lap. Harvick was right there at the end and would have given Logano all he could handle if the caution hadn't come out on the final lap. 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Dale Jr. made a strong bid to repeat as the Daytona 500 champion, leading 32 laps, and made a nice recovery after making a move with 19 laps remaining that left him stuck in the middle, a move Junior took responsibility for over the radio at the end of the race. "I made a poor move on that restart with 19 to go. Should not have done that." " WATCH: Junior weighs in on costly decision 4. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin carried the flag for a JGR stable that showed lots of speed all week. Hamlin topped final practice and it carried over into the race as he spent all but five of 203 laps in the top 15 and had the most quality passes (396) in the race. 5. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. A pit-road penalty seemed to leave the 48 team miffed, but the six-time series champion rebounded from it en route to leading 39 laps and being there late to challenge for the victory. 6. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . After nearly not making the Daytona 500 with an engine failure in the first Daytona Duel, Mears took full advantage of his new life with his fourth straight top-10 at Daytona. 7. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . A wreck in group qualifying didn't start the week off right, but the veteran driver had plenty of speed Sunday (198.020 mph, seventh-fastest during green flag runs) and nearly made a run all the way to the front. Bowyer had a fan in eventual race winner Logano, who said on Lap 179, "Tell Bowyer he's doing great." " Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio 8. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Truex was one of the surprises of Speedweeks with a great run in the Sprint Unlimited. He overcame a pit road penalty and also led a lap to match his total for 2014 as the No. 78 team sent notice that the new season will bring new results. 9. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. In his first race with new crew chief Keith Rodden atop the pit box, Kahne had his best Daytona 500 finish since 2008 thanks to the second-most green flag passes for the day (479). 10. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . For the fourth straight time and fifth time in the last six Daytona 500s, Biffle scored a top-10 finish; he also recorded the third-most green flag passes with 459. 11.David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. After not recording a top-20 finish until the 21st race of the season last year, Gilliland wasted no time in doing that this year and nearly brought home a top-10. 12. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. In his first start for RPM, Hornish started in the back of the field but came on strong late as the second-best closer of the race, gaining 14 spots in the final 20 laps. 13. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Making his first start for the expanded two-car HScott team, Annett had the best finish of his 37 career Sprint Cup starts, and he did so by making up 14 spots in the final 20 laps. 14. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon has run some of his best Cup races at Daytona, and while he didn't score a top-10 finish, he spent plenty of time in the front of pack. The handling of his car late in the race had the young driver a bit miffed, as he told his team, "You've never seen (expletive) like this before. We're sideways every lap." " Sign up for Scanner today, to hear in-car audio 15. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Back at Daytona to run his first points-paying race since his Coke Zero 400 win last July, the Florida native was the best closer, gaining 18 spots in final 20 laps. 16. Regan Smith, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Named as a sub for the suspended Kurt Busch, the NASCAR XFINITY Series runner-up in 2014 ran a solid race for SHR; one that could merit him more consideration for additional seat time in the No. 41 car. 17. David Ragan, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Ragan's strength is restrictor-plate racing with both of his Sprint Cup wins coming at such venues. This result is a welcome one for a driver that struggled to a 32nd-place finish in the final standings in 2014. 18. Matt Crafton, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . A late sub for the injured Kyle Busch, the two-time defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion seemed to get more comfortable as the race went on and did an admirable job in less-than-ideal circumstances. " MORE: Gibbs gives update on Kyle Busch 19. Johnny Sauter, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . Sauter, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran, carried the flag for BK Racing , notching his best Sprint Cup result since a 15th-place finish at Phoenix in November of 2007. 20. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The 'Dinger had his share of issues early in the race and was running in the back thanks to a starting position of 40th, but he came on strong late, gaining 12 spots in the final 20 laps of the race. 21. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . It was an interesting Speedweeks for Danica, from going through several cars to a run-in with Denny Hamlin, but the third-year Sprint Cup driver toughed it out in the end. 22. Cole Whitt, No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. In his first start with the expanded Front Row organization, Whitt had his best-career finish at Daytona. 23. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . In his first points race for JGR, Edwards spent plenty of time at the front with 160 laps in the top 15 and led three laps. A speeding penalty on pit road on Lap 89 led Edwards to tell his team over the radio, "Completely my fault, guys. I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you." " Sign up for Scanner today, to hear in-car audio 24. Bobby Labonte, No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing . This finish was the 2000 premier series champion's worst in the Daytona 500 since 2006, but he did gain 19 spots from his starting position. 25. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . After stringing together back-to-back top-10s in the 2011 and 2012 Daytona 500, Menard's past two Daytona 500s have resulted in a 21st-place finish and a 32nd-place finish, so this finish roughly splits that distance. 26. Michael Waltrip, No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Filling in for the sidelined Brian Vickers, the two-time Daytona 500 winner gained nine spots in the final 20 laps. 27. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The CGR driver couldn't replicate his Rolex 24 success from last month, but the "Big-game hunter" spent 134 laps in the top 15. 28. Ty Dillon, No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing . Making just his third career Sprint Cup start, the younger Dillon turned some heads with the eighth-fastest car in green flag conditions, but his promising run trailed off in the latter half of the race after taking on damage in a late wreck. 29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . The third-year Cup driver had his worst Daytona 500 finish in 2015 after a career-best seventh-place result in 2014, but he did have the most green flag passes (484) in the race. 30. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Since his surprising win in his first Daytona 500 in 2011, Bayne has averaged a finish of 31.3. On the positive side, Bayne was the fourth-fastest car on restarts. 31. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing . For the third time in his four career Daytona 500 starts, McDowell finished 30th or worse; the exception was a ninth-place finish in the 2013 Daytona 500. 32. Reed Sorenson, No. 44 Chevrolet, Team Xtreme Racing . Sorenson, who wasn't sure he was going to have a backup car for the Daytona 500, raced his way into the field but had his worst finish in the Great American Race in six starts. 33. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The Coors Light Pole Award winner led a race-high 87 laps and looked like one of the cars to beat. His finishing position is not indicative of his day as he was involved in a wreck on the final lap. " PHOTOS: Gordon through the years at Daytona 34. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson's sophomore campaign got off to a slow start after a day marred by pit road troubles that seemed to derailed the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year at inopportune times. 35. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The Sprint Unlimited winner had plenty of speed during Speedweeks but couldn't recover from damage suffered due to contact from Tony Stewart on Lap 41, and he finished a lap down. 36. Mike Wallace, No. 66 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Running his first Daytona 500 since 2007, the 54-year-old couldn't match his 2007 run when he finished fourth. 37. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. The second-year Sprint Cup competitor was in a wreck that triggered the green-white-checkered finish on Lap 199. " WATCH: Allgaier brings out caution 38. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Last year's runner-up in the final standings suffered damage from a chain reaction after Brad Keselowski's car blew up; Newman would finish 19 laps back. 39. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . In his maiden start for Wood Brothers Racing , Blaney was enjoying a nice run until his car blew up in similar fashion to Brad Keselowski's on Lap 176. 40. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley had trouble shifting into gear late in the race, which took him off the track and resulted in his third finish of 40th-or-worse in six Daytona 500 starts. 41. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. The 2012 Sprint Cup champion had been steadily making his way up through the field before car trouble on Lap 161 caused his worst career finish in the Daytona 500. " MORE: Blown engine cuts Keselowski's day short 42. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The elusive Daytona 500 victory will remain the trophy "Smoke" can't rein in as a steering issue following a Lap 41 accident derailed his day. " MORE: Daytona 500 drought continues for Stewart 43. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Racing . Cassill's engine expired on Lap 19, bringing the day to an early end for a driver who has had some recent success at restrictor-plate tracks. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Stewart-Haas Racing engineers talk about the advantages of using a three dimensional printer.
Team says Texas, Phoenix present opportunities to keep title hopes alive RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Kevin Harvick 's stumble out of the gates in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup last weekend at Martinsville Speedway has left him with two races to put his name in the championship-eligible field of four. The mathematical route of accumulating points is a formidable one, but a victory at either Texas or Phoenix in the next two weeks would cure all of Harvick's ills. And if numerology has any hand in providing an assist, Harvick will be making his milestone 500th start in NASCAR's premier series in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). For his Stewart-Haas Racing support system, there are no misgivings that their lone remaining title hopeful can come through in the clutch. "Absolutely not. There's definitely no doubt," said Tony Stewart , Harvick's stablemate and team co-owner. "You look how fast he was at Texas in the spring. I think we feel good going to Texas, and Phoenix is one of his favorite tracks. There's nobody I'd put money on in a two-race deal more than him." Mid-race contact from championship rival Matt Kenseth left Harvick 43 laps off the pace in 33rd position after last Sunday's race, shuffling him to last among the eight drivers still in title contention. The 33-point deficit to new series leader Jeff Gordon isn't impossible to overcome, but Harvick would need some misfortune to visit some of the Chase competition to advance by points. The other way to lock into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship under this year's new format isn't easy but is less complex -- win one of the next two. It's been done before, even in the new playoff system's infancy, with Brad Keselowski 's Talladega victory to avoid elimination taking on the equivalent of a walk-off homer or a buzzer-beater. Conventional wisdom might say, "don't drive angry," but SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli expects Harvick to convert last Sunday's setback into motivation going forward. "Obviously, he's frustrated but he seems to do well when his back is against the wall and I think he wants it," Zipadelli said. "Nobody is going to give you it. Racing for years, you gotta go earn it, you gotta race it and some days things stack against you and you've got to go see what you're made of. We'll go to the next couple of races and see what we've got. I believe in our people, I believe in our equipment, so we've just got to do it." A large part of the optimism stems from Harvick's recent performance at both tracks, starting this weekend with Texas Motor Speedway . Though Harvick finished 42nd at the Fort Worth track in April after suffering engine failure just 28 laps in, he was third-fastest in final practice and third-best in Coors Light Pole Qualifying before his No. 4 Chevrolet broke down. Harvick's prospects are even more encouraging at Phoenix International Raceway, where the Eliminator Round finale will cut the remaining Chase field in half to determine its final four. Harvick has won three of the last four Sprint Cup races at the mile track in the Arizona desert, including a dominating victory there in March, when he led 224 of 312 laps in just his second start with the Stewart-Haas operation. While last weekend's dust-up with Kenseth made the road ahead more difficult, Rodney Childers -- Harvick's crew chief -- maintains there's no panic in the team's game plan. "We're ready to go," Childers said. "Our Texas and Phoenix cars are already ready, and our Homestead cars are going there to test. There's nothing we need to change or do differently. We've just got to go win a race." 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
Stewart-Haas Racing driver rallies from late wreck to make Daytona 500 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Daytona 500 starting lineup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the second time this week, Danica Patrick wound up with a wrecked race car and on both occasions fellow driver Denny Hamlin was seen as the culprit. And Patrick, driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet, wasn’t happy. MORE: @nascarcasm's take on incident Barely one day after an incident with Hamlin during practice had sent her bouncing off the wall, Patrick was once again going for an unintentional spin at Daytona International Speedway. This time it was in the second of two Budweiser Duel qualifying races. This time it was for keeps. A bad finish and Patrick's Daytona 500 hopes could have vanished. Although she rallied to finish 10th thanks to a green-white-checkered finish that extended the race four laps beyond it's scheduled 60-lap distance, Patrick wasted no time in finding Hamlin after the race. Moments after pulling onto pit road, she climbed from her damaged car and quickly headed for Hamlin’s stopped entry. Hamlin met her halfway, no doubt anticipating a confrontation. MORE: Underdogs make way into Daytona 500 field When Patrick reached up and grasped Hamlin's fire suit with both hands, Hamlin likely realized his expectations had been correct. "You did the same thing," Patrick said, referring to the Wednesday incident. "Tighten what up? Nobody else left me with a problem out there." "Nobody has your back like I have it," Hamlin said. "Stop. Listen to me. But I can’t give you an extra two feet because it’s you." "You give me nothing. You give me nothing. It spun my back end around!" countered Patrick. Hamlin: "I understand. It’s because you’re loose. It’s not my problem if you’re loose." Patrick: "Nobody else did it to me." Hamlin: "Then nobody else is getting close to you. We have to get close to you. To get you going forward, we have to get close to you. I know it got you loose." Patrick: "You spun me out. Just like in practice. When I looked in my rearview mirror and you were right here. You weren’t here; you were here." Hamlin: "Absolutely. You were loose entering the corners …" Patrick: “Because you … Denny. It happened twice. The same person, the same way.” Hamlin: "But guess what. I didn’t hit you either time." Patrick: "Well then apparently you don’t have to actually hit me. I like you Denny, you’re my friend." Hamlin: "Does it mean like, 'oh my god, she's loose. I can't run next to her?' What should I do?" Patrick: "It just means don't be up my ass on my left corner … you did it on the straightaway and then you did it in the corner that time. Both times exact same results." Hamlin: "I won't get close to you. I understand now." Patrick: "You can get close; I'm sure everybody gets close. But you don't need to turn me. That's what it did." Denny: "I know it did. I totally get it, but it's something they have to work on." At that point, Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR, arrives and chides Hamlin. "Tony, I never touched her," Hamlin said. "I never touched her. What do you want me to do? Not run close?" "You watch the video," Stewart said. And with that, the party broke up. Patrick had managed to secure her spot in Sunday's Daytona 500. Because of the severity of damage in Thursday's crash, Patrick will be back behind the wheel of the car she drove to a 10th-place finish last Saturday's Sprint Unlimited for the remainder of the week. She’ll line up 20th for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Hamlin will start 42nd. PHOTOS: Best images from the Daytona Duels MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Lap 41 damage derails three-time champion's bid for first Daytona 500 win Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Get full race results " Series standings DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- 0-for-17. Tony Stewart's career-long quest to win the Daytona 500 will have to wait another year. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, with a fast car throughout Speedweeks, was involved in a Lap 41 wreck that eventually put his No. 14 Chevrolet behind the wall for good Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. The three-time premier series champion took the blame for the wreck after he drifted up the track and made contact with Ryan Blaney, the result of which sent him hard into the outside wall and brought out the second caution flag of the day. Matt Kenseth, who was also fast this week and won the Sprint Unlimited on Feb. 14, was among the other cars involved to take heavy damage. "My fault, I let it get away from me," Stewart said after exiting his SHR entry and heading back to his hauler. "We were fine as long as we were two-wide, then when it got three-wide that particular lap it got away from me. I got out of the gas and couldn't get the front end caught up when I got out of the gas. "I just got tight. I was a little bit tight before that. We took two tires on the stop before that. I needed to get to that next pit stop to get it fixed." Stewart -- who does have four wins at Daytona, all coming in the summer race -- returned to the track on Lap 110, 64 laps down. On Lap 141, he brought his car back to the garage and called it a day. "It was fast enough to stay with the pack there," Stewart said. "I actually just stayed with Mike Wallace to try to help my buddy out there, but we ran as many laps as we could to get us to where we couldn't run any more laps and gain anything." Apart from points, another reason Stewart decided to pull himself out was because of the nature of the race itself. Superspeedway racing inherently lends itself to big wrecks. Kyle Busch was injured during Saturday's XFINITY Series season-opening Alert Today Florida 300 after a wreck, and Stewart thought there was no reason to take the chance for himself or his competitors. "The biggest race of the year; the last thing we want to do is stay out there and have something else happen and get in the middle of something else," he said. "That's just letting those guys have their day now." The 42nd-place finish was the third straight finish of 35th or worse for the veteran in the Daytona 500. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
XFINITY Series regular tapped to run in Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Stewart-Haas Racing will run the No. 41 Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend with Regan Smith behind the wheel for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the organization announced Monday. Smith will begin driving the No. 41 car during an open test session at Atlanta on Thursday, according to a team release. An interim driver for the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, and races beyond that, has not been determined, according to the team. Kurt Busch, the full-time driver entering the season, was suspended by NASCAR for an indefinite amount of time on Friday after the conclusions reached by Kent County (Delaware) Commissioner David Jones stated that a "preponderance of the evidence" indicated that Busch "committed an act of domestic violence" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September at Dover International Speedway. The findings were released four days after a Delaware family court granted Driscoll's request for an Order of Protection from Abuse, stemming from their alleged altercation in Busch's motorcoach. Both of Busch's appeals were denied on Saturday. Busch's punishment fell under two headings in NASCAR's rule book: Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing ; and 12.8: Behavioral penalty. Smith, last year's NASCAR XFINITY Series runner-up, subbed for Busch in the Daytona 500 and finished 16th, which was the second-highest result for the four SHR cars in the field. Smith has made six career starts at Atlanta in the Sprint Cup Series and has a pair of 14th-place finishes. His average finish is 24.3 at the 1.54-mile track. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is set for Sunday, March 1, at 1 p.m. ET with TV coverage on FOX. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule