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Harvick wins wild finish at Daytona

NASCAR Coke 400 Sprint Cup race
Sunday, July 4, 2010


Kevin Harvick celebrates in Victory Lane
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

It was a wild one Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway – so wild you had to wonder whether there were going to be any cars running at the finish.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings leader Kevin Harvick won the last race on the track’s current pavement after running up front all night. He managed to dodge the on-track fireworks that littered the Coke Zero 400 Presented by Coca-Cola from start to finish, a race that set a new event record with 18 different leaders and may spark conversation for years.

The 2.5-mile Daytona track is scheduled for repaving beginning immediately, but the old worn-out asphalt went out with a bang that left more than half the field beat-up and battered.

The stage for a green-white-checkered finish was set with one lap to go when two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr., lost control of his Dodge and clipped Kurt Busch, causing a lot of damaged to both cars.

Harvick’s teammate, Clint Bowyer, was leading on the restart but got tangled up down the backstretch and spun out of contention. It was a tough, tough break for Bowyer, who had appeared to be heading for his first Daytona victory.

Kasey Kahne finished second and Jeff Gordon third behind Harvick. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was fourth after running poorly most of the night. Jeff Burton was fifth after being involved in a multi-car crash that red-flagged the race for 19:34. More than 20 cars were involved in this accident, which had debris scattered for more than half-a-mile on the track. In fact, many of the frontrunners in the race were eliminated, including Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart, four-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman and others.

An earlier accident with less than 60 laps remaining knocked another contender out of the race. Kyle Busch was leading when he drifted up across the nose of Montoya, turning Busch's Toyota into the outside wall and ending his chances.

The fact that Earnhardt finished fourth was testament to the fact that many of the fast cars were damaged in the huge wreck.

Carl Edwards finished sixth, followed by Kurt Busch, whose Dodge looked like a candidate for the junkyard. Busch was involved in several of the accidents.

Rounding out the top 10 were Reed Sorensen, Mike Bliss and Scott Speed.

The cars roared to life after a 90-minute rain delay. Johnson, Harvick and Kyle Busch led before a 15-lap competition caution allowed crews to check tire wear. Two cars were already back in the garage, those of Dave Blaney and Max Papis.

When racing resumed, Harvick and Biffle were up front, followed by the Busch brothers. Harvick and Kyle Busch barreled to the front a couple laps later. At 30 laps, Harvick still led with Busch in tow. Sadler was third, followed by Truex, Keselowski, Burton, Kurt Busch, Biffle, Johnson and Reutimann. Truex led briefly before Kyle Busch took over. Sadler then led but Kyle Busch made an unscheduled stop with a wheel problem.

Drivers were swapping the lead so fast it was hard to keep up with the changes. Kurt Busch led a few laps, then Harvick took over again with Hornish giving him the shove to the front.

By Lap 32, Busch was leading again. Reutimann had raced into second place. Hornish led Lap 42 before Sadler went back to the front. Drivers were racing every lap like it was the final lap and the crowd of close to 100,000 loved every minute of it. Johnson pitted on Lap 48 with a tire problem. Hornish had taken the lead at 50 laps from Sadler. Montoya had moved from 22nd to third and Kurt Busch was close behind. Gordon was next and Reutimann was sixth. Burton was next.

A debris caution fell on Lap 58. When the green flag waved again on Lap 63, it was Montoya out front followed by Gordon, Sorensen, Keselowski, Sadler, Hornish, McMurray, Reutimann, Truex and Newman, who was cracking the top 10 for the first time in the race.

AJ Allmendinger brought out another caution on Lap 67 when he spun off Turn 4 in the short chute and hit the inside wall.

On the 70th lap restart, Gordon led with Keselowski on the outside. One lap later, Keselowski took the lead with Gordon challenging and Gordon went by half-a-lap later. Montoya moved into second. A lap later, Montoya led and then Hamlin charged out front after starting in the back of the pack.

At the halfway point of 80 laps, Hornish led with a gaggle of chargers right behind. Kenseth had moved to second with Johnson third. Rounding out the top 12 were McMurray, Hamlin, Montoya, Gordon, Kyle Busch, Reutimann, Burton, Kurt Busch and Edwards.


1 1 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 195/10 166 Running
2 20 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser Armed Forces Tribute 170/0 166 Running
3 5 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 170/5 166 Running
4 13 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard "8 Soldiers 8 Missions" / Amp Energy 160/0 166 Running
5 8 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 160/5 166 Running
6 12 99 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 150/0 166 Running
7 6 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite / Vortex 151/5 166 Running
8 24 83 Reed Sorenson Toyota Red Bull 142/0 166 Running
9 35 71 Mike Bliss Chevrolet TRG Motorsports 138/0 166 Running
10 27 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 134/0 166 Running
11 19 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 130/0 166 Running
12 32 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Robby Gordon Motorsports 132/5 166 Running
13 39 36 Steve Park Toyota Richie Evans Fan Tribute 129/5 166 Running
14 33 34 Kevin Conway * Ford Extenze 121/0 166 Running
15 7 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea Vodka 118/0 166 Running
16 37 09 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 115/0 166 Running
17 15 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 117/5 166 Running
18 23 98 Paul Menard Ford Quaker State / Menards 109/0 165 Running
19 41 46 J.J. Yeley Dodge Cash America 106/0 164 Running
20 10 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M Scotch-Brite 108/5 163 Running
21 30 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 105/5 159 Accident
22 29 19 Elliott Sadler Ford U.S. Air Force 102/5 159 Accident
23 34 37 Robert Richardson Jr. Ford Mahindra Tractors 94/0 159 Running
24 4 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 96/5 158 Running
25 9 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Burger King 93/5 158 Running
26 14 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Tornados 85/0 148 Accident
27 22 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 87/5 148 Accident
28 11 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / 84/5 148 Accident
29 16 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 76/0 148 Accident
30 26 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing 78/5 147 Accident
31 2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 75/5 147 Accident
32 28 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Kingsford / Bush's Beans 67/0 147 Accident
33 31 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 64/0 147 Accident
34 38 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 61/0 145 Accident
35 18 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 58/0 141 Running
36 21 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Paralyzed Veterans of America / Mission Able 55/0 136 Running
37 36 26 David Stremme Ford Air National Guard / 57/5 135 Accident
38 25 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 49/0 116 Accident
39 17 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 46/0 116 Accident
40 3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 48/5 103 Accident
41 42 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 40/0 38 Electrical
42 40 13 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 37/0 6 Vibration
43 43 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 34/0 4 Transmission

* Denotes Rookie

Average Speed: 130.814 MPH
Lead Changes: 47 among 18 drivers
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 03 Mins, 28 Secs.
Cautions: 9 for 37 laps
Margin of Victory: 0.092 Seconds

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