Kevin Harvick holds on at Richmond for second straight NASCAR Cup Series victory
RICHMOND, Va. — Kevin Harvick took the lead from Joey Logano with 66 laps to go and held off Christopher Bell at Richmond Raceway on Sunday for his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Harvick, who ended a 65-race drought last week at Michigan, won for the 60th time, the fourth time at Richmond and first time on the 0.75-mile oval since 2013. He matched Kyle Busch for ninth in career victories in the premier series and credited an increased understanding of the Next Gen car for his progress.
“We’re just going to keep doing the things that we’re doing,“ Harvick said. “I think we just have to keep an open mind about things and keep progressing and keep understanding the car, understanding what we could have done better today, understanding what we could have done better in qualifying yesterday and do the same thing over and over.”
Harvick’s victory also kept alive the intriguing battle for the final playoff position with two races remaining in the regular season. The 15 winners this year have all likely claimed playoff berths unless there are new winners when the series moves to Watkins Glen and then Daytona.
Bell finished second, followed by Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. Joey Logano, who led for 221 of the 400 laps, faded to sixth, followed by Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney was 10th. Blaney and Truex are the top two drivers in points hoping to make the 16-driver playoffs without a victory.
Thanks to stage points, Blaney increased his lead from 19 points to 26 over Truex for the final playoff spot, assuming there is not a 16th different winner.
After a very successful first event, NASCAR is bringing back the season opener to a special quarter-mile track inside the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
The race featured just five cautions for 28 laps, and that includes the two that come at the end of each stage. The last one came when Bell spun on the 252nd lap, and Harvick pulled away after a pair of green-flag pit cycles.
Ty Gibbs again replaced Kurt Busch, who missed his fourth consecutive race while recovering from a concussion. After getting his first top-10 finish a week ago, Gibbs finished just 180 laps before his engine blew. Bubba Wallace, like Gibbs driving for 23XI Racing owned by Michael Jordan and Hamlin, had his string of top 10 finishes stop at four. He wound up 13th. Kyle Busch’s string of eight consecutive finishes outside the top 10 ended with a ninth-place run.
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