Someone should hand Kevin Harvick a broom. Harvick made a late-race pass on Kyle Busch to grab the win in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Harvick and Busch traded the top spot most of the evening, but Harvick laid...
Someone should hand Kevin Harvick a broom.
Harvick made a late-race pass on Kyle Busch to grab the win in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Harvick and Busch traded the top spot most of the evening, but Harvick laid back at the end, let Busch get a little too self-confident and then pounced to take the lead with two laps to go.
The victory made it a clean sweep for Harvick, who also won the Busch series race at RIR Friday night. It was a great night for Harvick who locked his place in the Chase in the races early laps. He stayed out front and out of trouble on his way to his third win this season and eighth of his career.
"Everything just worked out there towards the end," said Harvick. "We were able to get up there and get position on Kyle and make the pass. I got into him once down here and I really didn't want to pass him like that. I was able to get by clean. What a night."
Busch settled for second but clinched a spot in the 2006 Chase field.
"We should have won that race," said Busch. "We gave it up on the last lap. Just a shame for how we ran tonight but overall a great night for us."
Kasey Kahne did what he came to RIR to do: make the Chase. He finished third grabbing the tenth and last place in the Chase.
"We did what we had to do two weeks in a row and we ended up making it in," said Kahne. "Richmond will always be a special race for me. I won my first Cup race here and I made my first Chase here, so Richmond has been real good to me."
Dave Blaney and Mark Martin complete the top five. Martin also secured his spot in this year's championship class.
"This team, thank goodness put it together tonight," said Martin. "They were awesome on pit road.heck we just got up on the wheel and got it done there."
Pole sitter Denny Hamlin led the way for the first twenty laps before losing the lead to Harvick. The first caution fell on lap 35 when Sterling Marlin spun after a tap from Tony Stewart. The leaders but Jimmie Johnson stayed out grabbing the top spot for two laps before Jeff Burton wheeled past.
On lap 66, Burton began lapping the field, as he got stuck in traffic it allowed Harvick to make the pass and get the lead back. Johnson and Carl Edwards made contact on lap 81 bringing out the second caution. Under the ensuing stops, the No. 17 Ford team of Kenseth was the quickest, grabbing the lead.
Kenseth pulled out at times to over a one-second advantage on the field until he was slowed on lap 120 when Martin Truex, Jr. cut down a tire. Kyle Busch won the race off of pit road but didn't make much progress. Truex blew another tire on lap 129 causing the fourth yellow.
Busch restarted in the lead at lap 138 but was soon passed by Harvick. The two swapped the lead several times before Busch settled in at the front of the field. His progress was marred when a debris caution fell on lap 221.
Busch continued to lead after service stops. The sixth yellow waved on lap 251 when Jeff Green slapped the wall. The leaders pitted with Busch continuing to lead when the race went back green.
The No. 5 Chevy was still out front when Reed Sorenson bumped Johnson bringing out the seventh caution. Busch led on the restart but on lap 334 Harvick powered by on the outside. Busch did not give up taking the high line and passing on lap 340.
Harvick settled into second until while Busch began to pull away from the field. In the end, Busch couldn't hold off Harvick who earned his first Cup series victory at RIR.
The 2006 championship field is: Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne.
"It feels good leading the points, its five points but its still five points," said Kenseth. "We have been running really well. So it feels good to get it but it will feel better not to give it back."
Notably, reigning Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart did not make the Chase field. He finished 18th and sits 11th in points.
"I don't really don't care about finishing 11th. I don't care if we finish 11th or 20th in points now," Stewart commented. "For me, now it's about getting wins."
The points will be reset after Richmond before the first Chase event next weekend in New Hampshire. Kenseth will start NHIS with 5,050 points with everyone trailing by five points per position (ie. Johnson 5045, Harvick 5040, etc.)
There were seven cautions for 48 laps and 16 lead changes among eight drivers.