Kevin Harvick tops Kyle Busch for Bristol Night Race win

Kevin Harvick held off a determined Kyle Busch to earn his second victory of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Kevin Harvick tops Kyle Busch for Bristol Night Race win

Harvick and Busch emerged as the top contenders late in Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Over the final 50 of 500 laps, Harvick and Busch played a game of cat-and-mouse for the lead. Busch used lapped traffic to grab the lead on Lap 459 only to see Harvick reclaim the top spot with 31 laps to go, using Joey Logano’s lapped car as a pick.

Harvick ended up taking the checkered flag by .310 seconds to claim his second win of the 2020 playoffs and career-best ninth of the season. The win is also the 58th of his career.

“To beat Kyle Busch at Bristol, I kind of got myself in a little bit of a ringer there. I hit a lapped car and got a hole in the right-front nose, but just kept fighting," Harvick said. "We don’t have anything else to lose. We were here to try to win a race. I know how much Rodney (Childers, crew chief) really enjoys coming here and, hell, how can you not enjoy coming here with all this enthusiasm.  Everybody is tired of being at home.

"I’m so happy to see all these fans in the grandstands. I was so jacked up when I got in this race car tonight to come here and just race and to be able to do that in front of people, that’s the enthusiasm that you get is from the crowd and I’m so excited for our team. The guys are just doing a great job.”

Asked if there was any way to describe this season, Harvick said: “There is not.  It’s just been a weird a year, but it’s been an unbelievable year on the race track."


Both Harvick and Busch advance to the Round of 12 of the playoffs but Busch – the reigning series champion – remains winless on the season.

Erik Jones finished third in the race, Tyler Reddick fourth and Aric Almirola completed the top-five. Completing the top-10 were Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher, Ryan Preece and Michael McDowell.

Joining Harvick and Kyle Busch in the Round of 12 are Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Logano, Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch.

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Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, some lead-lap cars pit but Kyle Busch was among those who stayed out and continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 261.

On Lap 280, Harvick went to the outside of Kyle Busch off Turn 2 and came away with the lead. Elliott ran third.

Bowman hit pit road on Lap 301 for a green-flag stop after reporting a significant vibration.

On Lap 308, Keselowski was black-flagged by NASCAR for not meeting minimum speed and was given one chance to correct the problem. Keselowski took his No. 2 Ford to the garage.

With 180 laps remaining in the race, Harvick’s lead over Kyle Busch reached 1-second as Elliott remained in third, 4 seconds behind the leader.

On Lap 326, Kurt Busch hit pit road for a green-flag stop after complaining of an increasing vibration. Busch came back to the track in 26th and three laps down.

With 150 laps to go, Harvick maintained a 2-second lead over Kyle Busch while Elliott remained in third more than 6 seconds back.

Ryan Blaney made a green-flag stop on Lap 356 after he had been falling through the field and said he believed his left-front tire “was coming apart.”

Logano on Lap 371 became the first car on the lead-lap to make their scheduled green-flag stop to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the race.

With 100 laps remaining in the race, Harvick had expanded his lead to 6.3 seconds over Elliott but both still had to make a final pit stop.

On Lap 407 as Harvick was preparing to make a green-flag stop, Austin Dillon got into James Davison in an incident that also collected Reed Sorenson to bring out a caution.


Harvick was the first off pit road of the six cars remaining on the lead lap. On the restart on Lap 419, he was followed by Bowyer, Jones and Kyle Busch.

Kyle Busch quickly powered back into the runner-up spot shortly after the restart.

With 60 laps to go, Harvick maintained a small but steady lead over Kyle Busch with Jones in third.

While both drivers battled in lapped traffic, Kyle Busch reclaimed the lead on the backstretch on Lap 459.

Using Logano’s car as a pick, Harvick powered around Kyle Busch to reclaim the lead with 31 laps remaining.

Stage 2

Kyle Busch secured the Stage 2 win over Harvick thanks to a caution with one lap remaining in the stage. Ryan Newman spun off Turn 2 but managed to stay off the wall.

Elliott was third, Logano fourth and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, the lead-lap cars all pit with Kyle Busch the first off pit road.

On the restart on Lap 137, Kyle Busch led the way followed by Bowman and Elliott.

With 85 laps remaining in the second stage, Kyle Busch remained out front but was being challenged by Elliott for the lead. Harvick ran third.

On Lap 186, Matt DiBenedetto made a green-flag pit stop for a loose wheel, which left him running 29th and three laps down when he returned to the track.

With 55 laps to go in the stage, Kyle Busch remained out front with half-second lead over Elliott.

On Lap 212, Truex went down a lap and immediately headed to pit road for a green-flag stop for what he thought was “a tire coming apart.”

It appears Hamlin got into the back of Truex as Truex was coming back on the track following his stop, which did significant damage to the nose of Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota.

With under 25 laps to go in the stage, Harvick moved into the second spot as Elliott dropped to third.

On Lap 231, William Byron made contact with rear of Bell’s No. 95 Toyota while trying to avoid the car of Joey Gase. Byron suffered terminal damage to his radiator. That was the end of Byron’s race and will not advance to the Round of 12 in the playoffs.


During the caution, the lead-lap cars pit with Kyle Busch the first off pit road. On the restart on Lap 242, Kyle Busch led the way followed by Logano and Kurt Busch.

Harvick quickly moved into the second spot on the restart and Elliott moved into third as Logano dropped to fourth.

Stage 1

Elliott held off a furious charge from Kyle Busch, who started from the rear of the field, to earn the Stage 1 win – his third consecutive stage victory.

Harvick was third, Bowman fourth and Christopher Bell rounded out the top-five.

Keselowski started on the pole and led the first 17 laps until Harvick got around him to take the lead on Lap 18.

On Lap 27, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wrecked off Turn 2 after contact from Johnson which brought out a caution. The caution also served as NASCAR’s planned competition caution.


DiBenedetto was the first off pit road thanks to a two-tire stop. Newman was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.

On the restart on Lap 41, DiBenedetto was followed by Reddick and Harvick.

Keselowski powered around DiBenedetto off Turn 2 on Lap 43 to retake the lead.

With 50 laps remaining in the first stage, Keselowski opened up a more than 2.5-second lead over DiBenedetto with Logano in third.

On Lap 96, Elliott moved into the runner-up spot and began closing on Keselowski.

Elliott got around Keselowski on Lap 107 to take the lead in the race for the first time while Kyle Busch moved to third.

Busch took over the second spot with 15 laps to go in the stage.

Six drivers had to start the race from the rear of the field – Kyle Busch, Hamlin and Jones for twice failing pre-race inspection, Corey LaJoie and Bubba Wallace for unapproved adjustments and J.J. Yeley for a driver change in the No. 15 car.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 500 2:46'43.611     226
2 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 500 2:46'43.921 0.310 0.310 159
3 20 United States Erik Jones Toyota 500 2:46'44.430 0.819 0.509  
4 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 500 2:46'49.790 6.179 5.360  
5 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 500 2:46'52.118 8.507 2.328 1
6 14 United States Clint Bowyer Ford 500 2:46'55.197 11.586 3.079  
7 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 499 2:46'50.452 1 Lap 1 Lap 23
8 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 499 2:46'53.798 1 Lap 3.346  
9 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 499 2:46'58.450 1 Lap 4.652  
10 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 498 2:46'45.903 2 Laps 1 Lap  
11 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 498 2:46'48.249 2 Laps 2.346  
12 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 498 2:46'48.838 2 Laps 0.589  
13 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 498 2:46'50.251 2 Laps 1.413  
14 42 United States Matt Kenseth Chevrolet 498 2:46'53.303 2 Laps 3.052  
15 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 498 2:46'57.664 2 Laps 4.361  
16 88 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 498 2:46'57.890 2 Laps 0.226  
17 48 United States Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 498 2:46'58.926 2 Laps 1.036  
18 13 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 497 2:46'45.052 3 Laps 1 Lap  
19 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 497 2:46'46.531 3 Laps 1.479 7
20 38 United States John Hunter Nemechek Ford 497 2:46'48.119 3 Laps 1.588  
21 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 497 2:46'48.645 3 Laps 0.526 1
22 43 United States Bubba Wallace Chevrolet 497 2:46'52.724 3 Laps 4.079  
23 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 497 2:46'53.443 3 Laps 0.719  
24 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 496 2:46'55.947 4 Laps 1 Lap  
25 6 United States Ryan Newman Ford 496 2:46'57.228 4 Laps 1.281  
26 96 Mexico Daniel Suarez Toyota 495 2:46'54.143 5 Laps 1 Lap  
27 27 United States Gray Gaulding Ford 488 2:46'51.442 12 Laps 7 Laps  
28 95 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 487 2:46'47.490 13 Laps 1 Lap 1
29 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 483 2:46'52.182 17 Laps 4 Laps  
30 15 United States J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 479 2:46'59.366 21 Laps 4 Laps  
31 51 United States Joey Gase Ford 463 2:46'44.266 37 Laps 16 Laps  
32 78 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 436 2:46'55.543 64 Laps 27 Laps  
33 32 United States Corey Lajoie Ford 419 2:27'17.943 81 Laps 17 Laps  
34 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 412 2:46'52.849 88 Laps 7 Laps 82
35 53 Australia James Davison Ford 401 2:25'38.673 99 Laps 11 Laps  
36 77 United States Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 317 2:39'38.514 183 Laps 84 Laps  
37 66 United States Timmy Hill Toyota 313 1:54'51.400 187 Laps 4 Laps  
38 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 232 1:15'43.827 268 Laps 81 Laps  
39 7 United States Josh Bilicki Chevrolet 53 23'47.030 447 Laps 179 Laps  
40 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 28 7'46.285 472 Laps 25 Laps  


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