Kevin Harvick gained valuable track position with an aggressive pit road call that pushed him to yet another win for JR Motorsports.
Harvick earned his fourth Nationwide Series win of the season — giving JR Motorsports nine on the year — with his victory Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Harvick took the lead when crew chief Ernie Cope called for two tires on a pit stop 39 laps from the finish when Kyle Busch took four tires.
“(Cope) made a great call with two tires and (Busch) got buried in the field,” Harvick said. “I felt like at that particular point, it was our race to lose, and our car actually ran better on two (new) tires than it did on four tires.”
Cope said calling for two tires was an easy decision because he knew it would put Harvick, who led 43 laps in all, in the lead and in position to hang on for the victory.
“We just decided we were going to put two (tires) on it, and they were going to come get us,” Cope said. “Make them pass us.”
Kyle Larson finished second and Busch settled for third after leading 141 of the 200 laps. Busch then had to climb into his Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck to run the Truck Series race. Rain on Friday pushed the race to Saturday night for a doubleheader for Busch.
“Our pit call, is what it is,” Busch said. “Sucks to not be in Victory Lane where we should be.”
Alexis DeJoria topped Funny Car qualifying Saturday and Erica Enders-Stevens led in Pro Stock in the Countdown-opening NHRA Carolina Nationals.
DeJoria and Enders-Stevens became the fourth set of female drivers to top qualifying in an event this season and the seventh in NHRA history.
DeJoria, a three-time winner this season, had a run of 4.090 seconds at 300.53 mph in a Toyota Camry.
“It’s only our second No. 1, so it’s really exciting for our team,” DeJoria said. “(Crew chief) Tommy (DeLago) and the guys have got a real good handle on the race car and they’ve managed to get us down the track more often than not. The consistency has helped us get round wins and get better. I am really excited about our chances at this race.”