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DATE News (chronologically)
11/04/12
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Harvick dominates Texas Nationwide race  
Kevin Harvick
Getty Images for NASCAR
Kevin Harvick had a lock on the front of the field in Saturday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway, but there was plenty of action behind him.

The class of the field in the 200-lap, 300-mile Nationwide Series race, Harvick won handily, crossing the finish line 1.628 seconds ahead of 18-year-old Ryan Blaney, who made the most of a pit stop for tires on Lap 178.

Pole-sitter Kyle Busch ran third, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who erased the six-point lead Elliott Sadler held when the race began. Stenhouse, the defending Nationwide champion, is tied with Sadler with two races left in the season and holds the tiebreaker, most wins.

The victory was Harvick's second of the season and 39th of his career, third most all-time. Harvick, who led 127 laps, notched his fifth Nationwide victory at Texas, tied with Busch for the track record.

* Video: Final Laps | Victory Lane | Post-Race Reactions

Harvick and Busch battled for the lead after the last restart on Lap 182. Busch crossed the stripe with the nose of his car ahead of Harvick's at the end of that lap, but Harvick's No. 33 Chevrolet cleared the No. 54 Toyota through Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 183 and began to pull away.

Harvick's real worry, however, wasn't Busch but the cars behind him on fresh tires.

"I didn't want to make a big mistake and give up a big chunk of time there because I knew somebody was going to be faster coming through the field," Harvick said. "But it all timed itself out pretty good, and everything worked out."

Stenhouse, fighting a loose-handling car, trailed Sadler for the majority of the race, but a restart on Lap 160 began a dramatic reversal of fortune for the two drivers fighting for the title.

Stenhouse took the green flag in 14th place and began a charge to the front. On Lap 175, he passed Logano for the fourth spot. The real turnaround occurred after Joe Nemechek brushed the Turn 4 wall on Lap 177 to cause the fifth and final caution of the race.

Stenhouse and Sadler remained on track while many in the field behind them, including Blaney, came to pit road for tires. Stenhouse was able to hold the fourth position after the Lap 182 restart, but Sadler, who restarted sixth, lost ground to the drivers with fresh rubber and faded to 11th.

"When the cautions came out, we were able to make some adjustments to it," said Stenhouse, whose crew used liberal changes to the track bar, air pressure and wedge (weight distribution) to try to tighten up the No. 6 Ford. "We just took advantage of that second-to-last restart there with 40 [laps] to go and got our track position.

"It was a great night for us, but definitely disappointing -- we wanted to win."

Denny Hamlin ran fifth, with Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr., Justin Allgaier, Kevin Swindell and Joey Logano completing the top 10. Swindell was making his first Nationwide start of the season.

Busch congratulated Blaney after the race and had high praise for the talented teenager. The runner-up finish was a career best for Blaney in 12 Nationwide starts this season.

"He's really showing what he can do," Busch said. "He's done a good job of doing it and being clean while doing it. He's got a lot respect for everybody out there, and he can finish top two, three, four, five week in, week out, and he does it without making a big deal out of it.

"I just congratulated him and told him he did a great job."

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR LAPS STATUS
1 3 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet OneMain Financial 200 Running
2 19 22 Ryan Blaney Dodge Discount Tire 200 Running
3 1 54 Kyle Busch Toyota Monster Energy 200 Running
4 5 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford NOS Energy Drink 200 Running
5 9 18 Denny Hamlin Toyota Z-Line Designs 200 Running
6 4 3 Austin Dillon * Chevrolet AdvoCare 200 Running
7 14 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 200 Running
8 17 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 200 Running
9 20 198 Kevin Swindell Ford Carroll Shelby Motors 200 Running
10 7 20 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop / NASCAR The Game 200 Running
11 2 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 200 Running
12 6 88 Cole Whitt * Chevrolet NASCAR Bashers 200 Running
13 15 38 Brad Sweet * Chevrolet Great Clips 200 Running
14 8 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet Sega Sonic the Hedgehog / GoDaddy.com 200 Running
15 10 199 Kenny Wallace Toyota Toyota 200 Running
16 13 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Kelly-Moore Paints / stjude.org 200 Running
17 18 43 Michael Annett Ford Pilot Flying J 200 Running
18 16 10 Mike Bliss Toyota Bandit Chippers / Radisson 200 Running
19 12 30 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Great Clips 200 Running
20 23 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota SWM International Inc. 200 Running
21 22 14 Eric McClure Toyota Hefty / Reynolds Wrap / Radisson 200 Running
22 11 11 Brian Scott Toyota Dollar General 198 Running
23 24 124 David Starr Toyota Chasco 198 Running
24 27 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet G&K Services 198 Running
25 39 40 Erik Darnell Chevrolet Key Motorsports 198 Running
26 26 44 John Blankenship Chevrolet Coal Save the Country 197 Running
27 40 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet Tia Rosa 197 Running
28 42 4 Danny Efland Chevrolet Tradebank / Shauq Construction 194 Running
29 41 41 Juan Carlos Blum Chevrolet VMP Nutrition / Momentis / 34 Technologies 194 Running
30 34 19 Hal Martin Toyota American Custom Yachts / US Forensics / Radisson 192 Running
31 33 52 Joey Gase * Chevrolet www.BBB.org 191 Running
32 36 108 Scott Saunders Ford Broo Premium Australian Beer 191 Running
33 30 81 Jason Bowles * Toyota Undauntedmovie.net 175 Running
34 32 03 Scott Riggs Chevrolet Wollbros 154 Rear Gear
35 38 39 Tim Andrews Ford United Supermarkets 105 Electrical
36 21 70 Johanna Long * Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 56 Transmission
37 31 191 Jeff Green Toyota Tri Star Motorsports / Radisson 30 Vibration
38 25 100 Blake Koch Toyota Ruch Motorsports 23 Rear Gear
39 35 175 Timmy Hill Ford Rick Ware Racing 22 Vibration
40 37 86 Kevin Lepage Ford Qello 20 Transmission
41 29 47 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 7 Brakes
42 28 42 Josh Wise Chevrolet Key Motorsports 6 Electrical
43 43 50 T.J. Bell Chevrolet Gulf Coast Loss Prevention 1 Engine

* Denotes Rookie

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