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Stewart-Haas Racing - 2014 Atlanta Race Report
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS, led the way for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway by finishing a career-best sixth in the Oral-B USA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Patrick rallied from her 27th-place starting spot to earn her third top-10 this season and her fourth top-10 in 71 career Sprint Cup starts.
Patrick’s sixth-place finish is the highest finish by a female at Atlanta. The previous record was held by Janet Guthrie (10th on March 19, 1978). Only a fifth-place result by Sara Christian in a Sprint Cup race on Oct. 2, 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway tops Patrick’s finish. Christian also finished sixth at Langhorn (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949 and Guthrie finished sixth at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 28, 1977.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 22nd and finished 13th after leading 22 laps.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for SHR, started on the pole for the sixth time this season and led seven times for a race-high 195 laps. However, Harvick was relegated to a 19th-place finish after getting sent into the turn-one wall on the penultimate restart of the race on lap 329.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, started 12th and finished 41st after cutting a right-front tire, which sent him into the turn-two wall at lap 172. The accident ended Stewart’s day.
Kasey Kahne won the Oral-B USA 500 to score his 17th career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his third at Atlanta.
Matt Kenseth finished .574 of a second behind Kahne in the runner-up spot, while Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five. Patrick, Ryan Newman, rookie Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 10 caution periods for 56 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 335-lap race, which was extended 10 laps by a green-white-checkered finish.
With round 25 of 36 complete, Harvick leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He is eighth with 748 points, 124 behind first-place Jeff Gordon. Busch is 21st with 614 points, 258 out of first. Stewart is 26th with 540 points, 332 out of first. Patrick is 28th with 500 points, 372 out of first.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday, Sept. 6 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with its prerace show at 7 p.m.