Bakersfield, California, native Kevin Harvick was the last one left standing as he claimed victory in a crash-filled Hardees 250 at the Richmond International Raceway. Harvick, who started fifteenth, stayed out of trouble in a race marred by ...
Bakersfield, California, native Kevin Harvick was the last one left standing as he claimed victory in a crash-filled Hardees 250 at the Richmond International Raceway.
Harvick, who started fifteenth, stayed out of trouble in a race marred by fourteen cautions to take the lead with fifty laps remaining and to claim his first victory at the three quarter mile track.
"Once we got out in front, we were really good", noted Harvick. "There was a lot of beating and banging." noted Harvick, who got loose in the late stages of the race and hit the concrete. "We made a good call and stayed out. I was trying so hard I pancaked the wall. Scott Riggs really had the best car".
Finishing behind Harvick were Riggs, Tony Rains, Michael Waltrip and Scott Wimmer.
After Harvick took the lead, he appeared to have smooth sailing to the finish line, but a late race red-flag to clear the track from debris left from a Mike Bliss crash set the stage for a nine lap shootout between Riggs and Harvick.
The battle never materialized, as after the restart a multi-car incident transpired on the back stretch bringing out the final caution of the night, and fittingly finishing the competition under yellow.
"We were trying to make a pass and the caution came out", said Riggs. "I felt like I had a good run on him"." We had great communication on everybody part on this team. We had a good car. We just tried to bide our time and pace ourselves."
Fuel mileage and pit strategy played a major role in the event as many teams included that of Harvick pitted in different sequence.
Pole sitter Michael Waltrip led late into the event, but his pit sequence required him to stop for fuel on lap 185, handed the lead to New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr.
Truex, who was making his first start for Dale Earnhardt Jr's S2 Motor sports ran in the top five all night, but suffered mechanical problems on the re-start giving the lead to Harvick.
Harvick, who is competing part-time in the series, shares his ride with teammate Johnny Sauter in a bid to take his Richard Childress team to the owner's championship.
The win is the second of the season for Harvick, who previously demonstrated his short-track skills at Bristol in March. The event marked the ninth time in ten events that a Winston Cup regular won a Busch event.
Series points leader Todd Bodine, who almost missed the race due to funding problems, found a last-minute sponsor, but also found the turn two wall. Bodine was able to remain in the event, but finished twenty- ninth. He maintains the points lead, but lost fifty-nine points to the second-place position claimed by David Green, who moved up two positions.
Rounding out the top five in the standings are Shane Hmiel, Ron Hornaday and Riggs.
The series next heads to Gateway raceway in Missouri's for the Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200.
-by Thomas Chemris