Harvick Closes One Out in Richmond
The Closer did it again. Kevin Harvick won the Toyota Owners 400 from the Richmond International Raceway. He led only three of the 406 laps raced, and came from seventh to first on the final restart. Harvick was three-wide on two different occasions with two laps to go.
The race ended with a green-white-checkered after Brian Vickers crashed in turn four with about four laps to go. Juan Pablo Montoya was leading at the time and Harvick was second. Both pit under that caution for four tires. Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, and A.J. Allmendinger stayed out. Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart took two tires and beat both Montoya and Harvick off pit road.
The fresh tires prevailed for Harvick who was able to make his way past the six cars ahead of him before he even completed one lap.
It appeared that this race was Montoya's to win. He was up front all night long and led 67 laps. But he had to restart on the outside on the final restart and wasn't able to use his fresh tires like Harvick was able to. Montoya had to settle for a fourth place finish.
The early stages of the race were dominated by Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer. Kenseth led 140 laps and Bowyer led 113. Bowyer was able to make his way back to second, but Kenseth had to settle for seventh.
Kyle Busch led 40 laps and looked like he had a car capable of winning, but he had multiple issues in one ten lap period. Near the halfway mark Busch pit under caution, but NASCAR called him for a commitment-line violation. They said that he had to have the two left side tires touch the box, but ruled that he only had one tire touch the box. But then NASCAR overturned their initial call after reviewing it under caution and let Busch keep his spot.
But things quickly went south for Busch who had issues on the next restart and then was caught up in a crash. Stewart got loose underneath Jimmie Johnson in turn one and spun out the both of them. Johnson came down the track right into Busch who had nowhere to go. Busch finished 24th.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Dale Earnhardt Jr.