NASCAR Sprint Cup 2014 Review
Opening at legendary Daytona Speedway, the 66th NASCAR season began in February 15 with Sprint Unlimited, followed by Budweiser duels. After the two qualifying races, the first race was held on February 23 on the same autodrome. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500, closely followed by Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. After a crash at Daytona, Kevin Harvick scored his first win driving for Stewart-Haas Racing at the The Profit on CNBC 500 Event in Arizona. Earnhardt had no luck running out of gas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ensuring Keselowski his win at the Kobalt 400.
Due to heavy rain, Food City 500 was stopped by the officials with Carl Edwards being the winner. At the Auto Club 400, Kyle Busch has passed his brother Kurt on the final lap, claiming the victory. Jimmie Johnson has ended his 83-race winless streak, winning the STP 500, while Joey Logano won the next race by passing Jeff Gordon in the final lap of the Duck Commander 500. This season’s champion, Kevin Harvick, scored his first win on the Bojangles’ Southern 500, with Logano winning at Richmond International Speedway. Hamlin took his first win at Talladega in Aaron’s 499 and Jeff Gordon earned his first place at 5-Hour Energy 500.
Taking place at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 saw Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson as winners. Johnson won at the FedEx 400 too, with his winning streak broken by Earnhardt in the Pocono 400, only to be continued at Quicken Loans 400. Carl Edwards won at Sonoma Raceway, while Keselowski dominated the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway and continued on at New Hampshire Speedway. At Indianapolis, it was Jeff Gordon who took the victory, guarranteeing him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with Edwards, Johnson and Logano following him, and Casey Khane at 6th due to running out of fuel. Earnhardt snatched the first at Pocono, and A. J. Allmendinger had his first career Sprint Cup victory at Watkins Glen. Gordon conquered the Pure Michigan 400, while Logano snatched the victory at the Irwin Tools Night Race, after which Kasey Kahne won the Oral-B USA 500 and Keselowski finished first at Richmond international Speedway.
The Chase for The Sprint Cup began at Chicagoland Speedway with Keselowski again at 1st and continued with Joey Logano winning the Sylvania 300. Gordon won the AAA 400, but Logano came first in Hollywood Casino 400, the first race in the Contender Round. Bank of America was won by Kevin Harvick, and the second round was concluded with Keselowski’s GEICO 500 victory.
Earnhardt Jr. was the victor at Martinsville Speedway, and at Texas 500, it was Jimmie Johnson who took the win. Kevin Harvick dominated at the Phoenix International Raceway to win Quicken Loan Race For Heroes, as well as on Ford EcoBoost 400, the last race of the season and the last race covered by ESPN and Allen Bestwick, their presenter since 1986. Jeff Gordon was at pole, but finished tenth, while Newman, Keselowski, Menard and McMurray finished behind Harvick. With just one point ahead of Ryan Newman and six ahead of Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick won his first ever championship and 12th consecutive manufacturers’ championship for Chevrolet.