Kevin Harvick Cruises To Xfinity Series Victory At Atlanta

Kevin Harvick celebrates in Victory Lane at Atlanta
Atlanta Motor Speedway

You can sum up Kevin Harvick's run in Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in two words – total domination.

Harvick not only led the most laps, but he swept all three segments en route to his 47th career series victory in the Rinnai 250.

"It's just been a really good place for me," said Harvick, who has scored five NXS wins at Atlanta in his career. "The race track has stayed very similar to what it's been for a number of years. It's been a great race track for us. I was frustrated last year when we didn't leave here with a trophy on either day and that's always our goal."

Harvick used a bold three-wide move on a lap 16 restart to bypass Joey Logano and Christopher Bell to take the lead. From there, he went virtually unchallenged the rest of the way, only giving up the lead on pit road for pit stops.

Harvick showed just how strong his car was after making a pit stop just before the end of the first segment. Restarting 10th with just one lap left in the segment, Harvick powered all the way to second by the time the field thundered down the backstretch. He then drove to the outside of leader Logano going into turn three, and scampered away to win the segment.

In all, Harvick led 141 of the race's 163 laps, leaving only seven cars on the lead lap when the checkered flag flew. He edged out the competition by a 4.183 second margin of victory.

Logano made a last pass on Bell to finish in second. "I don't think we were even close," Logano said with a head shake. "Kevin played with us all day long. He ran a few hard laps when he needed to. It doesn't matter what car he's driving, Kevin's just really good at Atlanta.

"Second always stings a little bit."

"I am a little bit bummed right now but I will probably wake tomorrow and be pretty happy with it," said Bell. "Our Ruud Camry was fast but I wasn't good enough to run with the 98 (Harvick). And I don't know if I put myself up too fast on the green flag pit stop that the 22 (Logano) was able to get by me late in the race. I don't know what I missed on but our guys brought a really fast Camry and we'll try to get them in Vegas next week."

John Hunter Nemechek, making his series debut driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, finished in fourth after battling back from a cut tire that sent him to the pits under green on lap 33.

"I'm happy with the outcome that we had finishing fourth," Nemechek said. "My goal was to come here and run all the laps and learn as much as I could, hopefully bring home a top-five run. After we unloaded yesterday, my first-ever lap in an Xfinity car was lap one of practice yesterday. I definitely have learned a lot through both practice sessions, qualifying and the race. There was a couple of instances in the first segment where I got turned sideways a couple of times by some of the veterans – I guess I'm learning my place or something – but overall it was a really good day."

Elliott Sadler finished in fifth.

The race was slowed four times by caution flags, but only one of those was for a major on-track incident.

It occurred when contact between Cole Custer and Nemechek off turn four sent Nemechek up the track in front of Sadler. Sadler made contact with Nemechek's back bumper, sending Nemechek sliding back down into Custer's car. That contact turned Custer's Ford into the outside wall, leaving the car heavily damaged and ending Custer's day.

"It looks like the 42 (Nemechek) got out of shape and then the 1 (Sadler) had a run and he didn't hit the brakes hard enough and he hit the 42 and the 42 hit me. We just got collected in something and there's not much we could do. We had a pretty good car and was just kind of riding at that point, but, I don't know. We'll go on to the next one."

"I've got to apologize to Cole Custer," Nemechek said after the race. "I never meant to get into him off (turn) 4 there. I got tagged from behind."

The other only on-track caution was for debris on lap 35. The other two came out at the end of the segments.

Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric, Kyle Benjamin, Ryan Truex, and Ryan Reed rounded out the top ten.

RACE RESULTS

Finish Start # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Points Status
1 5 98 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford 163 0 Running
2 2 22 Joey Logano(i) Discount Tire Ford 163 0 Running
3 1 20 Christopher Bell # Ruud Toyota 163 52 Running
4 3 42 John H. Nemechek Fire Alarm Services Inc. Chevrolet 163 33 Running
5 10 1 Elliott Sadler Cessna Chevrolet 163 43 Running
6 17 7 Justin Allgaier Rinnai Chevrolet 163 37 Running
7 9 12 Austin Cindric # Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford 163 37 Running
8 8 18 Kyle Benjamin PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Toyota 162 34 Running
9 15 11 Ryan Truex Bar Harbor Chevrolet 162 28 Running
10 12 16 Ryan Reed Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford 162 36 Running
11 6 21 Daniel Hemric South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet 162 28 Running
12 14 2 Matt Tifft Surface Sunscreen Chevrolet 162 25 Running
13 16 3 Ty Dillon(i) Red Kap/Alsco Chevrolet 162 0 Running
14 13 23 Spencer Gallagher Allegiant Chevrolet 162 23 Running
15 18 60 Chase Briscoe Ford Ford 162 22 Running
16 24 4 Ross Chastain teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 162 21 Running
17 7 19 Brandon Jones Menards/Jeld-Wen Toyota 161 20 Running
18 33 36 Alex Labbe # Can-Am/Wholey/Cyclops Gear Chevrolet 161 19 Running
19 11 9 Tyler Reddick # Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevrolet 161 30 Running
20 21 5 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 161 17 Running
21 28 28 Dylan Lupton thinQ Technology Partners Ford 160 16 Running
22 25 39 Ryan Sieg Georgia Metals Inc. Chevrolet 160 15 Running
23 20 24 Kaz Grala # Marlow's Tavern Ford 159 14 Running
24 37 90 Josh Williams StarTron Chevrolet 159 13 Running
25 32 15 Garrett Smithley teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 159 12 Running
26 30 35 Joey Gase DonataLifeGeorgia.org/Sparks Chevrolet 159 11 Running
27 22 51 Jeremy Clements AllSouthElectric.com Chevrolet 158 10 Running
28 36 52 David Starr Striping Technology Chevrolet 158 9 Running
29 35 76 Spencer Boyd # Grunt Style Chevrolet 158 8 Running
30 23 78 BJ McLeod Densify Chevrolet 158 7 Running
31 39 1 Vinnie Miller # JAS Trucking Chevrolet 158 6 Running
32 38 55 Stephen Leicht Janiking Toyota 157 5 Running
33 26 8 Tommy Joe Martins Chevrolet 156 4 Running
34 29 66 Timmy Hill CrashClaimsR.Us Dodge 156 3 Running
35 34 40 Chad Finchum # Smithbilt Homes Toyota 155 2 Running
36 40 0 Matt Mills teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 154 1 Running
37 19 93 JJ Yeley RSS Racing Chevrolet 92 1 Engine
38 31 89 Morgan Shepherd Visone RV Chevrolet 49 1 Brakes
39 4 0 Cole Custer Haas Automation Ford 10 1 Accident
40 27 38 Jeff Green RSS Racing Chevrolet 5 1 Vibration

Leave a Reply