Last week Kevin Harvick dominated the Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He finished third. Friday night he dominated the Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway. But this time he won.
Harvick started third, but got to the lead quickly. He led a race high 141 laps out of the 250. He lost the lead on a restart late in the race and got shuffled back to third. He made his way back past Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with 38 laps remaining after battling Stenhouse for over 30 straight laps. Harvick then set his sights on Kurt Busch for the lead. Busch got impatient behind a lapped car with just over 20 laps remaining and spun out the lapped car. Harvick got past Busch just before the caution came out.
Harvick kept the lead on the final restart with 16 laps to go and immediately pulled out to a large lead.
The race was interesting from the start of the race when the under-funded 70 car of Johanna Long qualified in the top 10. She raced her way into sixth, but fell to 14th during pit stops under the first caution of the race. She was never able to get those spots back, and finished 32nd after blowing a right front tire near lap 70.
The other female in the race, Danica Patrick didn't fare much better. She went a lap down early, and got into an accident near the race's midway point. Patrick was on the inside of Brad Sweet entering turn 1 when she veered right and got hooked into the wall. Her spotter didn't clear her, but she tried to take the spot anyway. Patrick would come back on track, but finished 29th, 32 laps down.
The championship contenders also had interesting races.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished 30th after crashing hard in turn 1. Hornish made contact with Ty Dillon exiting turn 4 and lost his momentum. He made contact with Ryan Blaney entering turn 1 right after and that contact cut his left-rear tire down. Hornish spun, nosed it into the wall, and then lost the back of the car when Timmy Hill hit it as Hornish slid back down the track. The contact ripped open the right side of Hill's car like a can-opener.
Elliott Sadler entered the race as the points leader, but he also had trouble. While racing Stenhouse for second late in the race, Sadler got loose underneath Stenhouse and spun out. He backed the car into the wall. The team fixed the damage but lost a lap doing so. Sadler got his lap back when the final caution came out. He rallied to finish 12th and kept a one-point lead over Stenhouse.
There were many rookies in the race tonight, most of which are expected to have great careers ahead of them. Ryan Blaney, Ryan Truex, Darrell Wallace Jr, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, and Travis Pastrana all raced today. All ran in the top-10 at some point during the race.
Travis Pastrana started fifth, but finished 17th, Blaney started 27th, but finished 9th, Wallace started 20th but finished 10th, Truex started 33rd, but finished 16th, Austin Dillon started second and finished sixth, and Ty Dillon started 11th and finished seventh.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Darrell Wallace Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -1
Austin Dillon -30
Sam Hornish Jr. -50