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No denying Harvick in Richmond

by Pete McCole
Saturday, September 08, 2012

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Harvick was unstoppable
Getty Images for NASCAR
No water bottles were going to deny Kevin Harvick this time.

Just one week after a controversial late caution cost him a sure victory, Harvick snapped a 30-race winless streak in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a win in Friday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway.

Harvick led 141 laps including the final 24 after taking the lead from Kurt Busch following a caution on lap 227 and then easily pulled away on the final restart to record his 38th Nationwide Series win and his first since winning this same race in 2010.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. came home second, followed by Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Michael Annett.

“I think we’ve led more laps in ten races in this series than anyone else that’s run all year – the cars have been there week after week, but we went through a spell there of things that could go wrong went wrong,” said Harvick. “Last week we just absolutely dominated the race but didn’t really get to race all day. That was a lot of fun with Ricky and Kurt there at the end to be able to race as hard as we could go for 60 to 70 laps and be able to come out on top.”

It was just a week ago that Harvick seemed on route to an easy victory at Atlanta, having led all but 43 laps only to see his insurmountable lead fade away with a late caution flag Harvick believed was the result of a water bottle tossed onto the track by Brad Keselowski.

Harvick would eventually be passed on the last lap by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. – marking the fifth time this season Harvick had led the most laps in a Nationwide Series race and gone on to win.

Although NASCAR would say the caution flag was for other debris on the racetrack, Harvick directed his post-race frustration squarely at Keselowski.

This time, it was late-race caution that worked in Harvick’s favor.

Harvick, Stenhouse, Jr. and Kurt Busch waged a heated battle over the final 100 laps with Harvick working on Stenhouse’s bumper battling for second while Busch led the way Harvick, Stenhouse, Jr., and

On lap 227, Busch got into the back of rookie Dexter Stacey, sending Stacey spinning to the infield grass while Busch barely scraped by, slowing his momentum just enough for Harvick to nose out in front and take the lead when the caution flag was displayed for the seventh and final time.

On the restart with 18 laps to go, Harvick held the lead on the low side as Busch tried to make a run on the outside, but Harvick and Stenhouse, Jr. pulled away leaving Busch to battle Hamlin for third.

Up front, Harvick moved out to a nearly two-second advantage over Stenhouse, Jr. and would go on to win by nearly half a straightaway - tossing a water bottle onto the track during his celebratory burnout.

With the runner-up finish, Stenhouse notched his third straight finish in the top-two and his eighth top-five in his last 10 races.

“I gave it all I had on the outside with Kevin there and that was a lot of fun racing him, last week and this week, we gave each other a lot of room and had a lot of fun doing it,” said Stenhouse, Jr. “Congratulations to them. I know they deserve this one as well as last week. It was a great night for us and we were just too loose in and too loose off and not exactly what we wanted. It is a good top-two finish though and that is three good races in a row. We just have to keep doing that.”

Friday night’s race saw a major shakeup in the points standings as points leader Elliott Sadler nearly saw his championship hopes go up in a shower of sparks after spinning out on lap 187 while battling Stenhouse, Jr. for position.

Sadler’s crew made some timely repairs and only lost a single lap in the pits. Sadler would eventually get back on the lead lap and rally to finish 12th to retain the series lead by a single point over Stenhouse, Jr. with eight races remaining.

The new was not as lucky for Sam Hornish, Jr., who came into Friday night’s race third in points but ended up dropping to fourth after a cutting a tire and crashing on lap 157, bring out the red flag. 

Austin Dillon finished sixth and moved up to third in points, 30 points behind Sadler.

Austin’s brother Ty Dillon finished seventh, followed by Joe Nemechek, Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace, Jr.

Danica Patrick crashed again and spent many laps behind the wall having her right front repaired.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 3 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Armour 0 250 Running
2 1 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Ford EcoBoost 43/1 250 Running
3 17 54 Kurt Busch Toyota Monster Energy 0 250 Running
4 6 18 Denny Hamlin Toyota Sport Clips 0 250 Running
5 13 43 Michael Annett Ford Pilot Flying J 39/0 250 Running
6 2 3 Austin Dillon * Chevrolet American Ethanol 39/1 250 Running
7 11 51 Ty Dillon Chevrolet Wesco 0 250 Running
8 14 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM-FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves / AC General 36/0 250 Running
9 27 22 Ryan Blaney Dodge Snap-On Tools 35/0 250 Running
10 20 20 Darrell Wallace Jr. Toyota Dollar General 34/0 250 Running
11 15 30 James Buescher Chevrolet ABF 0 250 Running
12 12 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 32/0 250 Running
13 10 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 31/0 250 Running
14 19 88 Cole Whitt * Chevrolet Hyland's Leg Cramps 30/0 250 Running
15 9 44 Mike Bliss Chevrolet TriStar Motorsports 29/0 250 Running
16 33 199 Ryan Truex Toyota Toyota Care 28/0 250 Running
17 5 60 Travis Pastrana Ford Ford EcoBoost 27/0 250 Running
18 28 40 Erik Darnell Chevrolet Key Motorsports 26/0 250 Running
19 30 19 Tayler Malsam Toyota G-Oil / Noah's Light Foundation 25/0 250 Running
20 23 38 Brad Sweet * Chevrolet Great Clips 24/0 250 Running
21 31 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet JD Motorsports 24/1 250 Running
22 39 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 22/0 250 Running
23 21 81 Jason Bowles * Dodge therandomact.org / ITEX.net 21/0 250 Running
24 22 4 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet stjude.org 20/0 250 Running
25 26 108 Paulie Harraka Ford Randy Hill Racing 0 250 Running
26 41 14 Eric McClure Toyota Hefty / Reynolds Wrap 18/0 250 Running
27 40 39 Dexter Stacey Ford MattiesPlaceRocks.com 17/0 248 Running
28 7 11 Brian Scott Toyota Dollar General 16/0 246 Running
29 24 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 15/0 218 Running
30 4 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Detroit Genuine Parts 14/0 162 Running
31 32 41 Timmy Hill Ford Lilly Trucking CDL Driver Search 0 153 In Pit
32 8 70 Johanna Long * Chevrolet KeenParts.com 12/0 109 In Pit
33 35 86 Kevin Lepage Ford Qello Corp. / Trivette Trucking 11/0 51 In Pit
34 42 124 Derek White Toyota OCR Gaz Bar 0 45 In Pit
35 34 117 Tanner Berryhill Toyota Race City Steel / Nationalcashlenders.com 9/0 35 Running
36 37 175 Scott Riggs Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 0 28 In Pit
37 43 100 Blake Koch Chevrolet Ruch Motorsports 7/0 18 In Pit
38 38 171 Carl Long Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 6/0 15 In Pit
39 36 15 Matthew Carter Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 5/0 11 In Pit
40 29 42 Josh Wise Chevrolet Key Motorsports 0 7 In Pit
41 25 47 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 0 7 In Pit
42 16 46 Chase Miller Chevrolet The Motorsports Group 2/0 6 In Pit
43 18 10 Jeff Green Toyota TriStar Motorsports 1/0 3 In Pit

* Denotes Rookie

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