Harvick wins at Richmond for 2nd straight win – The North State Journal
RICHMOND, Va. – Kevin Harvick may be the man to beat in NASCAR.
The 2014 series champion took the lead from Joey Logano with 66 laps to go and held off Christopher Bell at Richmond Raceway on Sunday for his second straight NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Harvick, who ended a 65-race drought last week at Michigan, won for the 60th time, fourth time at Richmond and first time at the 0.75-mile oval since 2013. He tied Kyle Busch for the ninth career win in the opening series. and credited a better understanding of the Next Gen car for his progress.
“We’re just going to keep doing the things we’re doing,” Harvick said. “I think we just have to keep an open mind about things and keep improving and keep understanding the car, understanding what we could have done better today, understanding what we could have done better in qualifying yesterday and doing the same thing over and over,” he said after getting out of his car.
He was even blamed for allowing Bell to get so close at the end.
“I knew he was coming, but I forgot to walk straight past last time,” he said. “I wasn’t paying attention and he got closer than he should have. I made a mistake a few laps ago doing the same thing.
Harvick’s victory also kept alive the intriguing battle for the final playoff position with two runs remaining in the regular season. This year’s 15 winners have likely all claimed playoff spots unless there are new winners when the series moves to Watkins Glen and then Daytona.
Bell finished second, followed by Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. Joey Logano, who led for 222 of the 400 laps, moved up to sixth, followed by Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney was 10th. Blaney and Truex are the top two drivers by points hoping to make the 16-driver postseason winless.
Thanks to stage points, Blaney increased his 19-point lead to 26 over Truex for the final playoff spot, assuming there is no different 16th winner.
The race featured just five cautions for 28 laps, and that includes the two that come at the end of each stage. The latest came when Bell spun on lap 252 and Harvick pulled away after a pair of green-flag pit cycles.
The final pit stops under the green came with just over 50 laps to go.
“I was held back pretty badly at the start of the race by a few slower cars and that’s ultimately the difference when you’re beaten by a few car lengths,” Bell said. He secured a playoff berth with a win at Loudon on July 17.
Before Bell, Buescher was on Harvick’s bumper, but never got around him.
“I think it’s a bit easy with this format to feel that third place doesn’t matter, but it’s good to be close and to keep progressing and improving,” he said. he declared. “I just burned the rear tires. In the end, it’s on me. The lap traffic didn’t do us any favors either, but in the end we just managed to keep the rears under us a little better so we could have shot a little better out there to chase him for the win .
The series moves to the Watkins Glen road course in New York next weekend.