Harvick Masters Martinsville
July 22, 2006 | 8:58 P.M. EST
Harvick’s RCR teammate Clint Bowyer finished second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Reed Sorenson and Johnny Sauter in fifth place. The victory helped Harvick extend his lead in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings.
Bowyer and Harvick paced the field in the opening laps, while brothers Johnny and Jay Sauter pursued the leaders. After a series of caution flags and pit stops among the race leaders, Paul Menard briefly led before making a pit stop of his own on lap 102.
At the halfway point of the 250-lap race, Kevin Grubb briefly held the lead until Harvick returned to the front on lap 126. Over the next 15 laps, which included two more caution periods, Bowyer worked his way up from the sixth position and the race soon resembled its earlier running order, with Harvick and Bowyer occupying the top two spots.
With 100 laps remaining, Reed Sorenson took over the third position from John Andretti and began to chase down Harvick and Bowyer. A short while later, Hamlin, who started at the rear of the field, passed Andretti to take over the fourth spot on lap 162. Hamlin continued his forward charge and took over the third spot, when the field was re-started for the 14th time after Boris Said and David Green spun out in turn three.
As the field closed in on the finish, five more caution periods slowed the action but Harvick maintained his lead over Bowyer and Hamlin. Harvick’s 21st career NASCAR Busch Series victory also moves him into a tie with Dale Earnhardt and Harry Gant, in sixth-place on the NASCAR Busch Series all-time win list.
The NASCAR Busch Series continues its 25th anniversary season July 29 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, Mo.