Harvick had finished second in Duel 1; will start 38th on Sunday
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Harvick, who had finished second in the first of two Budweiser Duel qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway Thursday night, will start from the back of the field in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series officials tossed out the Stewart-Haas Racing driver’s runner-up finish in the 60-lap qualifying race due to a track-bar infraction discovered during post-race inspection. He was ultimately credited with a 24th-place finish in the race.
"It exceeded the maximum split on the track bar and its qualifying time has been thrown out," NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said prior to the start of the night’s second qualifying race. "The No 5 car (of Kasey Kahne) goes up into that spot (fifth)."
Based on the results of the second qualifying race, Harvick will officially be listed 38th among the 43 that have earned a starting spot in the Daytona 500.
Harvick, who joined SHR during the offseason after spending 13 years with Richard Childress Racing, didn’t lead a lap in his Duel event, but a late surge had him side-by-side with eventual race winner Matt Kenseth at the start/finish line. Kenseth’s margin of victory was 0.022 seconds.
Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition for SHR, said he hoped to speak with NASCAR officials following the completion of the second qualifying race.
"I guess they’re telling us we’re starting at the rear," Zipadelli said. "… Everybody in the garage has adjusted their cars during the race and it’s never been an issue afterward. But I mean it’s a different deal here. We need to figure that stuff out on our side and make sure we don’t put ourselves in this position again."
The amount was insignificant as far as gaining any advantage, he said, but added the team did make a track bar adjustment during the only pit stop during the race.
"The track bar adjustment that you make during the race, they made a small one," he said. "It doesn’t add up to what they adjusted and what they should have started the race with. At this point, as far as they’re concerned it doesn’t matter.
"You can dictate the rear travel, the amount the car travels, by the amount of rake you have in it. That’s kind of how we got on that rule; people were coming up with just ridiculous amounts of track bar rake and it was pulling the back of the car down so they came up with this rule and you can only have three inches of rake. It doesn’t matter where … you can have it way down on the bottom if you need rear grip, you just can’t have more than three inches.
"For something that honestly as little as it was didn’t probably amount to anything other than changing the handling characteristics of the car. We needed a little bit of an adjustment during the race. So it’s disappointing because it knocks the wind out of your sails. You had a good car, had a great run, did a great job tonight. … Just a little setback.
"But we’ll have a few of our cars back there, we’ll team up and haul ass to the front."
SHR teammates Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick will also drop to the rear of the field prior to the start of the season-opening event. Both teams had to replace engines after issues during practice on Saturday, as did former Cup champion Bobby Labonte.
Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) led 14 laps in the opening Duel, but had spent most of his race toward the back of the pack. Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award last Sunday and had already locked in the No. 1 starting position.
Martin Truex Jr., second fastest in qualifying, was involved in a multicar crash on the final lap of the second qualifying race. As a result, he is expected to go to a back-up entry, and thus will also drop to the rear before the start of the 500.