Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Round 7 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/4th (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (198 points, 117 out of first)
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended on Lap 85):
- Kevin Harvick started first, finished fourth.
- The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion secured the pole position after Harvick set the fast lap of 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph in Friday’s qualifying session. It was his 19th career NASCAR Cup Series pole, his first at Texas and his second of the season.
- Harvick brought the Jimmy John’s Ford in for a two-tire pit stop on lap 32 under the competition caution.
- He reported that the car was battling a loose in, tight off the corner handling condition throughout the stage.
- Harvick led 19 laps and scored seven points for his fourth-place finish in Stage 1.
- The team gained a position on pit road following a four-tire pit stop and chassis adjustments at the conclusion of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended on Lap 170):
- Started third, finished seventh.
- Harvick came to pit road under caution on lap 123 for tires, fuel and air pressure and wedge adjustments.
- The No. 4 Ford restarted in the ninth position on lap 125 following the four-tire stop, while several teams opted for two-tire stops.
- Harvick came to pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments on lap 165 and restarted eighth just before the end of Stage 2.
- He gained one position in the three-lap shootout to finish seventh and score four points in Stage 2.
- The No. 4 Jimmy John’s team chose to stay out at the conclusion on Stage 2 and inherited the lead as a result.
Final Stage Recap (Ended on Lap 334):
- Started first, finished fourth.
- Harvick gave up the lead to pit under green-flag conditions on lap 221 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
- The No. 4 Ford came to pit road on lap 274 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments and beat the leader off pit road.
- Harvick took the lead on lap 290 when Joey Logano came to pit road under green-flag conditions.
- He gave up the lead to pit under caution for two tires and fuel on lap 301. Logano stayed out, and the No. 4 restarted second.
- Harvick raced his way up to second on the lap-305 restart but had dropped to fourth by the checkered flag.
- Harvick scored his first top-5 finish of 2017and his seventh top-5 finish in 29 career Cup Series starts at Texas.
- The No. 4 team led four times for 77 laps throughout the event.
- Harvick turned the fastest lap of the day with a time of 28.366 seconds at 190.369 mph.
- There were eight caution periods for a total of 35 laps.
- Twenty drivers finished on the lead lap.
- Jimmie Johnson’s win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 is his 81st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I think the racing was better than it could have been. The track did a great job getting the racetrack ready. It could have been like it was all day Friday and we’re able to get that second groove coming in. I think we overachieved today. The only chance we had today was to have clean air. Our Jimmy John’s Ford was very sensitive to the track and two tires. I was able to run out front and I could go okay then, but in traffic I really struggled off the corner.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 23 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2:00 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.