Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick involved in Bristol wreck
Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick’s streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes to start the 2015 season came to an end Sunday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet was involved in a Lap 311 wreck that began when Jimmie Johnson got into Jeb Burton on the frontstretch.
The contact sent both Burton and Johnson spinning just past the start-finish line. Joe Gibbs Racing substitute driver David Ragan had nowhere to go in the No. 18 Toyota and drove into Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
As the field reacted to the incident, Harvick was not able to get his No. 4 Chevrolet slowed up and slid into Ragan’s wrecked car. Harvick was running third at the time behind leader Carl Edwards and second-place driver Matt Kenseth.
"I’m sorry, guys," Harvick said over the radio. "I just couldn’t stop."
Harvick had led six times for a total of 184 laps, the most of any driver.
Harvick immediately took the car behind the wall and his Rodney Childers-led team went to work making repairs, while Ragan’s JGR crew did the same.
Ragan was running multiple laps down to the leaders when he was involved in the incident and blamed it on a mix of impatience on Johnson’s part and just racing at Bristol.
"Sometimes when you race back there with the squirrels, you find a nut sometimes," said Ragan. "That’s just Bristol. When you’re racing hard, the 26 (Burton) was a little slower, Jimmie was probably a little impatient trying to get back to the front, I see he just touched him there. As soon as my spotter said they’re wrecking, I’m all into the 48. That’s just one of those things you have in short track racing."
When the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up To Cancer went back to green on Lap 324, Ragan’s JGR teammates Edwards and Kenseth continued to lead the way.
Harvick’s team was able to make repairs and get the No. 4 Chevrolet back on track on Lap 355. When he returned he was listed 39th, 43 laps down to the leaders.