Harvick Advances With Kansas Win
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on October 16, 2016 | 5:35 P.M. EST
Harvick will advance to the Round of 8 for the third straight year. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick won Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway to advance to the Round of 8 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Harvick got by Carl Edwards on a late race restart and was able to maintain the top spot for the final 30 laps to score his fourth win of the season.
It was Harvick’s second win of the Chase and 35th career victory. He has never been eliminated in the current Chase format and now moves on to the Round of 8 beginning at the end of the month in Martinsville.
"These races are hard to win and these guys are so good at the details," said Harvick, the 2014 season champion, "and when you put their backs against the wall they're even better. I'm so proud of them."
Edwards, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
“Man that was fun,” Edwards said. “Wish we could have gotten back up there and challenge the 4 (Harvick) for the win, but still a good day for us here and we’ll go to Talladega next week and see if we can things down to move to the next round.”
Austin Dillon, Alex Bowman, AJ Allmendinger, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne completed the first 10 finishers.
The final race of the second round takes place next Sunday with the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott are the bottom four drivers in the standings heading into the elimination race.
How Harvick Won: The final restart of the day proved to be the seminal moment for Harvick’s trip to Victory Lane. He got by Carl Edwards when the green flag reappeared and once Harvick got by, he pulled away and Edwards ran out of laps to try and hunt him down.
Who Had a Good Day: Edwards, Logano, Kyle Busch and Dillon go to the front of the list with good enough finishes to stay alive in the Chase picture. On a day where that wasn’t the case for several other championship hopefuls, that quartet of drivers stayed either above or very near the cut-off. Add Matt Kenseth to the equation as well, after he was able to knock down a ninth-place finish from his pole position starting spot.
Who Had a bad Day: Brad Keselowski’s crash late in the race handed him a 38th-place finish and dropped him so far down in the Chase standings he’s going to need a win next week at Talladega in order to avoid elimination…Chase Elliott had what appeared to be a rear end issue that ended up causing damage to his car and he too fell down the Chase standings hole after his 31st-place finish…Denny Hamlin had some early splitter issues that plagued his handling all day and he too fell into the bottom four of the standings…Martin Truex Jr. started fourth but never had a chance to challenge with a fuel pick-up issue.
What Else Happened: The race had a similar feel to last week’s Round of 12 opener at Charlotte Motor Speedway with so much happening to drivers in the championship battle. While there wasn’t a large multi-car accident like last Sunday, several drivers were caught up in a number of incidents that caused damage. The hot slick conditions that greeted drivers after two days of practice and qualifying in cooler temperatures also added to the day’s challenges.
Quotable: "These races are so hard to win, and these guys are so good at the details. You put their backs against the wall and they get better." - Kevin Harvick
Notables: Edwards tied his career-best Kansas finish with his second place performance…Kahne has finished in the top-10 in six of his last seven races…Keselowski had his first DNF since the 2015 Daytona 500.
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