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This Day in NASCAR History: May 12

May 12, 2018 – Kevin Harvick charged to the win in the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway after coming from sixth on the final restart to score his fifth win of the season. The dramatic finish gave Harvick his 42nd career Cup Series victory. Harvick got to Martin Truex Jr. and the two put on a furious battle for the lead until Harvick got by with two laps to go.

May 12, 2017 – Kyle Busch inherited the lead late after leader Ben Rhodes suffered a mechanical failure and then held on to pick up the win in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway. It marked his first series win of the season and the 47th of his career. Rhodes and Busch traded the lead multiple times as the race approached the 100-lap mark, and again after a round of caution flag pitstops, but it was Rhodes who would pull out to a large lead with under 20 laps to go. Rhodes faltered with eight laps to go giving the lead back to Busch, who was able to cruise to a 2.6-second victory.

May 12, 2012 – Jimmie Johnson gave Hendrick Motorsports its 200th NASCAR Cup Series win when he took the checkered flag in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Johnson led six times for 134 laps, including the final 44, en route to his third triumph at the historic track and the milestone win for owner Rick Hendrick. The win was the 56th of Johnson’s career. Since the first win on April 29, 1984, when Geoff Bodine went to Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway, 15 drivers have combined to give Hendrick the victory total up to that point. To celebrate, all the Hendrick Motorsports teams posed for a photo on the Darlington frontstretch wearing their 200th win hats. In the post-race interview in the Media Center, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus presented their team owner with a special helmet that was signed by some of the drivers and family members that have helped get him to this occasion. See Also: 48 Stories with Jimmie Johnson

May 12, 2006 – Denny Hamlin held off Matt Kenseth to take his second Xfinity (Busch) Series victory of the season in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway. The win was his first since taking 19 stitches in his hand when he cut it on his team’s hauler a little over a week earlier. A late-race caution for a pile-up on the backstretch set up a two lap dash to the checkered flag and Hamlin was able to keep his Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet ahead of Kenseth to take the win.

May 12, 2001 – Bobby Hamilton won the inaugural NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Darlington 200 at Darlington Raceway. Hamilton dominated the race, leading 125 of the rain-shortened 135 laps, to earn his second of 10 Gander Truck Series wins. A second red flag for rain was brought out with 18 laps remaining and, after a 50-minute delay, the trucks were re-fired. Jack Sprague, who was running second at the time, was forced to pit prior to the re-start to change his right-rear tire, which was going flat, and that dropped him back to the 12th position. Rains came again just after the trucks got back on the track, and the race was called.

May 12, 2001 – Jason Keller captured his fifth of 10 career NASCAR Xfinity (Busch) Series wins in the CVS Pharmacy 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. On the final restart Keller passed leader Kevin Harvick in Turn 3 and went on to take the checkered flag by 2.3 seconds over Harvick, who led the most laps with 165. Keller, who had four fresh tires versus Harvick’s two, was the fifth and final leader of the race.

Other Winners on this date: 1990 – Jimmy Hensley (Nazareth); 1984 – Darrell Waltrip (Nashville); 1979 – Cale Yarborough (Nashville); 1973 – Cale Yarborough (Nashville); 1962 – Nelson Stacy (Darlington); 1957 – Fireball Roberts (Darlington); 1956 – Speedy Thompson (Hickory)

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