NASCAR standings 2014: Stewart-Haas Racing underwhelms at Las Vegas

Todd Warshaw

Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch again all struggled, while Kevin Harvick’s promising day ended early thanks to a wheel issue.

Some hit it big when they visit Las Vegas, while others go home empty-handed. Stewart-Haas Racing was definitely in the latter category in Sunday's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The only outlier among SHR's four entries was Kevin Harvick, who won last week at Phoenix and was again strong Sunday as his teammates Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch endured a variety of troubles.

This time, however, Harvick didn't make it to the finish line. A broken front hub in his left wheel sent him to the garage prematurely, and though he would eventually return to the track, Harvick in his third start with SHR finished 41st.

"It's hard to complain," he said. "... Every week is a new notebook for us. I really think as we get established and get some foundation for our set-ups and just the little things this team is going to be dangerous."

While the saving grace for Harvick was how fast he was before the mechanical failure, the same couldn't be said for Tony Stewart, who is still recovering from a right broken leg that sidelined him for the remaining 15 races of 2013.

The owner/driver labored through his third race back from injury never running higher than 24th. Overall, his average position was 34th and he finished 33rd, four laps down. Things were so abysmal for Stewart that during an early caution period he spent an inordinate amount of time on pit road making adjustments.

Much like Stewart, Busch was besieged by an ill-handling Chevrolet. He frequently radioed his crew that his car had no grip -- a frequent complaint among many drivers -- and was 26th in the final rundown.

Carrying the SHR banner Sunday was Patrick, who for the first time this season made it through a race without incident. Although down a lap early, she improved her lap times after a suggestion from her crew to try Harvick's line through the corners. Patrick would climb as high as 14th during green-flag pit stops and would finish 21st.

On the year SHR has seen its four drivers combine for just one top-10 finish -- Harvick's victory being the exception. And Stewart (ranked 27th), Busch (28th) and Patrick's (33rd) early season struggles are evident with a look at the championship order:

Sprint Cup standings
Rank Driver Points Behind Wins
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 133 --- 1
2 Brad Keselowski 132 -1 1
3 Jimmie Johnson 117 -16 0
4 Joey Logano 116 -17 0
5 Jeff Gordon 115 -18 0
6 Carl Edwards 105 -28 0
7 Matt Kenseth 105 -28 0
7 Denny Hamlin 101 -32 0
9 Ryan Newman 97 -36 0
10 Kyle Busch 95 -38 0
11 Jamie McMurray 93 -40 0
12 Greg Biffle 86 -47 0
13 Austin Dillon 84 -49 0
14 Kevin Harvick 83 -50 1
15 Kasey Kahne 83 -50 0
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 80 -53 0
17 Casey Mears 80 -53 0
18 Paul Menard 76 -57 0
19 Marcos Ambrose 69 -64 0
20 Brian Vickers 64 -69 0
21 AJ Allmendinger 63 -70 0
22 Clint Bowyer 55 -78 0
23 Kyle Larson 55 -78 0
24 Aric Almirola 54 -79 0
25 Martin Truex Jr. 53 -80 0
26 Reed Sorenson 51 -82 0
27 Tony Stewart 48 -85 0
28 Kurt Busch 47 -86 0
29 Justin Allgaier 45 -88 0
30 Cole Whitt 41 -92 0
31 David Ragan 38 -95 0
32 David Gilliland 38 -95 0
33 Danica Patrick 36 -97 0
34 Michael Annett 32 -101 0
35 Alex Bowman 31 -102 0
36 Bobby Labonte 29 -104 0
37 Jeff Burton 27 -106 0
38 Terry Labonte 24 -109 0
39 Josh Wise 22 -111 0
40 Parker Kligerman 21 -112 0

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