NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Southern 500
May 11, 2013 – Darlington Raceway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team started 10th and persevered through some late-race adversity to finish fifth in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night. The Richard Childress Racing driver used his admirable starting position to methodically move forward in the early stages of the 367-lap race. By lap 50, he was running sixth finding different areas of the 1.366-mile oval to improve his speed. During several green-flag pit stops, Harvick told crew chief Gil Martin his car was loose in the turns. Under each of those stops, the Budweiser Chevrolet SS team changed four tires, made track bar and/or air pressure adjustments. With the first caution not waving until lap 125, and for only the second time on lap 303, the pit stops under green were paramount to remaining in the top 10. The only time Harvick didn't retain that level of track position was when he got caught a lap down under the second caution, which was four laps after a green-flag pit stop. However, they were able to take the wave around and return to lead lap status in 12th place. Three more cautions and the leader receiving a "Darlington Stripe" dropping him back all played into Harvick and the team's favor. They overcame and pushed on to finish fifth which, in turn, moved them up two spots to 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship points standings.
That was a pretty good run for this whole Budweiser Chevrolet team tonight. We were loose for most of the race and those long green-flag stops didn't help us any, either. When we got caught a lap down there, I thought it was going to ruin our night. But, we overcame that, had great stops on pit road and took advantage of things out of our control to finish fifth. It was a good night for this team. - Kevin Harvick