For the third time in his career Kevin Harvick brought his Chevy to Victory Lane at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Harvick, driving for Richard Childress Racing started the event eleventh and did not take the point until lap one fifty four of the 250 lap event.
Harvick, who is always exciting to watch at Bristol, is probably best remembered at the track for an event he did not win. It was one year ago at the 2002 Spring Busch race that Harvick got into a shoving match with rival Greg Biffle after some on track contact. It was the shoving match at Bristol that placed Harvick on probation, which eventually led to his one race suspension at Martinsville in April of 2002.
Harvick, elated by the win, chose not to focus and savored the victory.
"We worked so hard on long runs, and we really thought the car was going to be good on them," Harvick said. "But there were so many cautions there in the beginning, we just couldn't catch up to anybody.
"Once we got a couple of long green-flag runs, we started to move up, and the car really settled in."
Finishing behind Harvick were Tony Raines, Jason Keller, pole sitter David Green, and Mike Bliss.
Raines, who is pulling double duty this weekend gave the fans their monies worth as he beat and banged with Harvick for the last forty laps of the event.
"Tony Raines is going to win some races this year," Harvick said. "He's a good guy and a good race car driver who hasn't had a lot of opportunities. He's going to find a way to get the job done."
Rains, who clearly had momentum lost his advantage as a late race caution brought out the red flag for a closing lap shootout that saw Harvick hold his position.
"That was the worst it drove all day," Raines said. "With about 10 to go, I was starting to reel Kevin in, and I thought we had something to play with. But then on the last restart, the car just got away from me."
The event was classic Bristol, as a nearly record breaking number of cautions slowed the event for a total of seventy-eight laps.
The high number of caution laps set many teams including Harvick to gamble on pit strategy, making it a one-stop race.
Harvick, who gained fuel mileage by the excessive cautions, won the gamble and the race in part by the fuel strategy.
Goodyear brings an especially hard tire compound to the high-banked concrete track, making tire management a mute point, and favors teams looking to optimize gas mileage.
Attrition played a major role in the race; of the forty-three starters only twenty-two remained on the track as the checkered flag fell.
Sophomore driver Johnny Sauter deserves a call, after being involved in one of the cautions on lap eight eighty, Sauter and his Channelock team rallied back to finish tenth.
Sauter, who drives part time for RCR and Part time for owner Mike Curb remains in the top ten in driver's points (7).
Chase Montgomery was the Rookie of the Race. Montgomery finished twenty-second. Coy Gibbs leads the overall rookie standing after five events.
Leaving Bristol, the top five in points are Todd Bodine, Jason Keller, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, and David Green, Less than one eighty five points separate the top five as the series heads to Texas for the O'Reilly 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway.