Harvick’s Engine Blows, Nemechek Wins
Joe Nemechek took advantage of series champion Kevin Harvick’s tough luck Saturday, making a late charge to win the season-ending GNC Live Well 300 at Homestead, Fla.
The victory was the 11th of Nemechek’s NASCAR Busch Series career, his second this year and his third in six races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where his younger brother, John, was killed in a truck race in 1997.
“This place has been good to us and bad to us. Everything I’ve been through and my family’s been through, I’m so happy they’re all down here,” he said. “This is a great way to start the weekend.”
Nemechek, who came up with his first Winston Cup victory of the season last week in Rockingham, N.C., is also entered in today’s Pennzoil 400.
Harvick, who wrapped up the championship in Rockingham, was dominating on the Homestead-Miami Speedway’s one-mile oval, leading 128 laps and building margins of up to 11 seconds before his engine let loose a cloud of grayish-black smoke 40 laps from the end of the 200-lap event.
Las Vegas’ Brendan Gaughan defended his NASCAR Winston West Series title with his sixth win of the season, taking the JaniKing 250-lap series finale at Irwindale Speedway.
Gaughan, leading Bakersfield’s Mark Reed by 40 points going into Saturday’s race, needed 30 laps to catch the rookie and take the lead. After pitting on lap 113, Gaughan retook the lead from Tim Woods III on lap 158, and held on for the rest of the way.
Brandon Ash finished second, and Scott Lynch finished third. Reed, with his fourth-place finish, captured the rookie of the year award. Gaughan finished the season with a margin of 2257 to 2197 over Reed.