NASCAR: Harvick wins Nationwide race
Associated PressBRISTOL, Tenn. ó Kevin Harvick proved just how strong his organization is Saturday by winning the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in his own race car.
Harvick led 44 laps in his Kevin Harvick Inc.-owned Chevrolet, his first victory in a car fielded by the race team he built with his wife.
“It is very emotional, he’s tried so hard, so long in his own stuff,” Delana Harvick said in Victory Lane. “Today was his day.”
Although Harvick has won three times in a KHI-owned Truck ó in 2002, ’03 and ’08 ó he’d yet to win a race in the more prestigious Nationwide Series. Tony Stewart won twice for him in that series, and Bobby Labonte once.
At Bristol, though, it was finally Harvick’s turn and he had a clear shot at the win after Kyle Busch was taken out of contention by a penalty on the final pit stop.
“It feels pretty good to get our car into Victory Lane,” Harvick said. “Finally we got this out of the way. Delana and I built this company from basically dirt. It started as a hobby. It’s been a tremendous amount of pressure that I’ve put on myself … but it was well worth the reward today.”
Harvick said his alternator failed during the race, making his cockpit almost unbearably hot as he rolled to the checkered flag.
Carl Edwards finished second and Clint Bowyer was third, and both credited Harvick for winning in his own car.
“To win in something that you build, I can only imagine what that feels like. That’s pretty special,” Edwards said.
Bowyer congratulated his Sprint Cup Series teammate, but also took a playful jab at the accomplishment.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bowyer said. “Obviously, Kevin is qualified to win races. I knew it was only a matter of time. But forget him, I’m bummed I didn’t win.”
So was Busch, who led a race-high 157 laps but was taken out of contention when his crew let a tire slip away during the final pit stop. NASCAR sent Busch to the tail end of the longest line as punishment, and he was 14th on the restart with 41 laps to go.
“Ahhh, man, that’s frustrating,” Edwards said of Busch’s penalty.
“Was he mad?” Bowyer deadpanned.
Was he ever.
Although he rallied to finish sixth, he appeared furious after the race when he stopped his car in Turn 3 and walked directly to the pedestrian tunnel to leave the track.
“We just got a gift with Kyle getting that penalty,” Edwards said. “That’s a great points day for us.”
Edwards’ lead in the Nationwide Standings was stretched to 114 points over Harvick and 124 over Busch, who still gained two spots in the standings despite the setback.