The No. 33 Richard Childress Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick dominated the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night, holding down the top spot for 127 laps of the 200-lap race en route to the win.
"It feels great, obviously," Harvick said. "This is what we wanted when we put all this together this year -- win more races."
This is what we wanted when we put all this together this year -- win more races.
With newer tires on the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge, Ryan Blaney drove to a runner-up finish, his best-career showing in Nationwide competition. Kyle Busch was third in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
Busch started from the pole and led the way until Harvick assumed the lead just before lap 70. From there, Harvick led most of the remaining laps.
Danica Patrick had a strong showing in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, running in the top-five until having to pit early because of a tire issue. She stopped about eight laps before most of the rest of the race field had to head down pit road around lap 143 for green-flag stops. Others were able to make their green flag stops late enough to go the rest of the distance if they needed to, but because she pitted early, Patrick was going to need one more stop.
But the yellow flag waved two additional times, and with everyone else heading down pit road during a caution with 46 laps to go, Patrick was able to make her final stop and get back on the same cycle as almost everyone else. The No. 7 team had a problem on pit road, though, and Patrick lost three spots in the pits. She also lost a few additional spots on the race track in the final laps and finished 12th.
When the race went back to green, the four on older tires dropped back through the field, but the yellow waved again with about 25 laps to go. During that final caution, those who pitted during the previous caution stayed out, while Hamlin, Dillon Allgaier and Blaney headed down pit road for their last sets of tires.
With the fresher tires, Blaney was able to make his way back up toward the front for his second-place finish. Hamlin was also able to work his way back into the top-five to finish fifth. Dillon wound up sixth and Allgaier eighth.
After the race Hamlin accused Dillon of crowding him on one of the late-race restarts.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled an ill-handling race car for much of the race but managed a fourth-place finish to tie Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, for the points lead.
"That was a tough night," Stenhouse said. "First run, we were alright. Second run, we just got loose, and we never recovered."
Sadler drifted back through the field in the closing laps, eventually falling outside the top-10 to finish 11th.
Sam Hornish Jr. was seventh in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge. Kenny Wallace finished ninth in the No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota, and Cole Whitt was 10th in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.