Harvick Triumphs at Kentucky

Harvick

Harvick celebrates his 42nd career win and second at Kentucky. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

Race Results

SPARTA, Ky. - Kevin Harvick took the lead on the final restart and went on to win Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Harvick held off Brad Keselowski for his 42nd career win and second at Kentucky. The win marked the 17th for JR Motorsports and the fifth of 2014, which marks the most the team has scored in one season.

"Proud of everybody at JR Motorsports for hanging in there," Harvick said. "The first half of the race wasn't exactly how you would script it to say the least. We had some handling issues and some pit stop issues, a lot of things that we were battling through. We had to figure all that out and in the end they made a great adjustment to the car and we were able to get track position and get up front."

Keselowski had the dominate car - leading 138 laps - but was penalized for being too fast exiting pit road on lap 148. He served a penalty on lap 152 and fell a lap down, but was able to get his lap back by taking a wave around on lap 159 when a caution was displayed for debris. After restarting 17th with 39 laps-to-go, Keselowski was able to rally back to score his seventh top 10 in as many starts at Kentucky.

"I did put us behind with that, but you still have to give credit to Kevin at the end there," Keselowski said. "He drove by and took the lead, so he was really good. We had a great Discount Tire Ford and I definitely put us behind and was just one spot away from catching back up.”

Kyle Busch, who won last night's Camping World Truck Series race, finished third after leading laps 158 through 195 when the seventh and final caution was brought out.

“We didn’t have the car to beat so shouldn’t be upset with a third, but there at the end we had the opportunity to win the race and through the middle part of the race I passed the '5' (Harvick) car and just didn’t have enough on the final restarts unfortunately," Busch said. "Not enough speed for the first five or so laps after a restart and then I could kind of start inching my way away a little bit. Just not enough there to hold Kevin off. He just flat drove right by me on the restart. We’re all wide open so I’d say there’s a problem under the hood a little bit.”

The final dash to the checkered flag was set-up after Chase Elliott got loose in Turn 4 and got into Trevor Bayne. The two were able to continue on to finishes of 12th and 15th, respectively.

“Week after week I’m getting used up by people," Bayne said. "It’s frustrating as can be. Chase is a great kid and a great driver, but it’s the same old story. They get to my inside and just run me up the race track, packing air on their doors and wreck us. We’ve got the bad end of the deal three weeks in a row and I don’t know what it takes to get respect around here."

Elliott Sadler finished 10th and took advantage of Regan Smith's misfortune on lap 169 - when he got into the backstretch wall while racing Ryan Reed - to take the series championship lead. Smith had a seven-point advantage coming into the night and now leaves eight points behind in third. Chase Elliott is now second, four points back.

"Yes we have the points lead and I’m happy about that because the last two weeks have killed us." Sadler said. "Michigan running second and overheating and have to pit under green with 15 laps to go, and then running fifth at Road America and have a flat tire with four laps to go and come out running 20th. So, for us to sit here right now with the points lead is pretty amazing after the last couple weeks we’ve had. We’re going to go to Daytona and race like crazy and see what happens. That’s a fun track to go and try to run up front, lead laps and go to victory lane. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

The NASCAR Nationwide Series now heads to Daytona International Speedway for the Subway Firecracker 250 on July 4.

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