Harvick Captures Vegas Victory
Kevin Harvick snatched the lead away from Denny Hamlin on a restart lap with 25 lapst to go Saturday night, checked out and went on to win the the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The margin of victory was just about 1.3 seconds.
“We got in clean air and we were gone,” Harvick’s crew chief, Ernie Cope, said.
Havick led 82 of the 200 laps, which was race-high.
“It was good in the beginning and good in the end,” he said of his car. “We had a couple hiccups today and we were able to overcome ‘em because our car was so good.
“Everything just played out right there at the end and it seemed like we were able to maneuver through traffic better than anybody. Our car was really good through the middle of one and two and there at the end I knew unless something crazy happened I could run eight or 10 laps wide open and seemed like they were having to lift on the restarts. We were able to get out there and able to conserve in case we had another caution or a restart or whatever the case may be there towards the end of the race.”
Hamlin finished second and Carl Edwards was third.
“We gave it all we had,” said Hamlin, who has finished 12th or better in four of his five career Nationwide Series starts at Las Vegas. “We just couldn’t get him (Harvick) at the end. We had a good Interstate Batteries Toyota and I know Norm (Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries) was watching. I wish we could’ve got the win.”
Polesitter Brad Keselowski was fourth.
Danica Patrick, making her final start until summer as she will now head back to the IndyCar Series, crashed out of the race on lap 84 when she and Michael McDowell got together as they fought for the same racing groove.
McDowell was on the high side, started coming down the track Patrick kept going and clipped his left rear fender. Patrick ended up t-boning the McDowell car.
Patrick sarcastically ripped McDowell.
Remarking that McDowell’s car had tape on it from a wreck early in the race that resulted from a flat tire, she said, “He turned down on me and took us both out.”
McDowell meekly accepted blame.
“One-hundred percent my fault,” he said, even though replays left some doubt about that.
Earlier in the race, Patrick, who started 37th, was lapped by leader Kevin Harvick on lap 54. She was in 25th place at the time but had pitted earlier out of cycle.
On lap 84, she and McDowell got together and Stage 1 of Patrick’s NASCAR career came to an end.
Harvick got the victory despite having problems in the pits.
Kyle Busch, who led 43 laps, appeared to have a car good enough to challenge Harvick but a scrape with the wall late in the race abrogated that. He finished 16th.
“It just turned out to be a typical Nationwide Series race for me at Vegas,” said Busch, who has just one top-five finish in seven career Nationwide Series starts at his hometown track. “Our Z-Line Designs Toyota was just too tight all day. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the guys worked hard to loosen the car up, but we just never hit on it. Then I made a mistake by scraping the fence in (turn) two and just had to try to make it to the end without wrecking. We maybe had a third-place car if I hadn’t messed up and got in the wall, but we’ll try to look ahead at having a better run at Bristol.”No Comment