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Harvick Adds All-Star Win To 2018 Spoils

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 20 2018

Kevin Harvick’s crew climbs the grandstand fence to celebrate their win during the NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

Kevin Harvick’s season of success rolled on Saturday night as he won the  Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Harvick, who has won five times in Cup points races in 2018, won Saturday’s exhibition even by taking control at the end of the 20-lap third stage. He won by beating Daniel Suarez to the checkered flag in overtime.

With lane choice on the final restart, Harvick picked the top lane in front of eventual third-place finisher Joey Logano and it paid off.

“I thought on that last restart that my best opportunity was Logano,” Harvick acknowledged. “He’s one of the best on the restarts. I knew he would work with me as good as possible, because that’s just the way that most of us do it from Ford. We were able to just stay even through (Turns) 1 and 2, and I really thought once we got to the backstretch we could clear him.

“I didn’t want to be on the bottom. I didn’t feel my car was stable enough to be under someone when they were on my right side. I had to take my lumps through 1 and 2 and hope that the guy behind me was still with me when we got to the exit of 2, and we were able to win.”

Harvick picked up his second victory in the All-Star Race, the first won coming in 2007. The winner of the previous two Cup points races, at Dover and Kansas, claimed the $1-million prize that goes to the winner.

Harvick crossed the finish line .325 seconds ahead of Suarez, who came close to clearing Harvick off the second corner after the final restart but didn’t have enough room to slide up in front of the No. 4.

Denny Hamlin was fourth, followed by Chase Elliott, who earned the last spot in the 21-car main event via the Fan Vote. Jimmy Johnson, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne completed the top 10. Kahne rallied from four laps down after contact with the frontstretch wall on Lap 56.

Suarez got a push from Hamlin on the final restart, but the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates didn’t stay connected as long as Harvick and Logano did.

“The 11 (Hamlin) was doing a very good job as much as he could to push me,” Suarez said. “For whatever reason, he just disconnected a little bit, and I couldn’t keep the run with the 4 (Harvick) and the 22 (Logano).

“They stayed connected for the entire corner, and after that I knew it was going to be tough. After that, I started just playing defense. I tried to slow them down, and I just didn’t do a good job or I just couldn’t do it enough.”

A six-car wreck that started near the apex of Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 75 – during the first attempt at overtime at the end of Stage 3 – eliminated Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski, both of whom led laps in the event.

Truex entered the corner four-wide with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. below him, Clint Bowyer to his outside at Kurt Busch at the top of the track. Contact with Stenhouse’s Ford sent Truex’s Toyota up the track into Bowyer’s Ford, trapping Busch against the outside wall. Kyle Busch’s Camry also sustained damage in the wreck.

“We had a really strong race car and felt like we maybe had a shot to win it,” Truex said. “Just four-wide going into (Turn) 3 there, and we all just ran out of room. The 17 (Stenhouse), I had him squeezed down so low, I just don’t know that he could hold it down there.

“I was trying to keep the 14 (Bowyer) to my outside and just one those deals at the end of the race. I knew we had to get through that green-white-checkered to have a shot to win, but I also knew if I lifted there, I would have been the only one that lifted, and the others would have went on and passed me, and we wouldn’t have won this thing.”

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Concord, North Carolina

Saturday, May 19, 2018

  1. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 93.
  2. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 93.
  3. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 93.
  4. (14) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 93.
  5. (21) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 93.
  6. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 93.
  7. (16) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 93.
  8. (20) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 93.
  9. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 93.
  10. (17) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 93.
  11. (2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 93.
  12. (9) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 93.
  13. (12) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 93.
  14. (1) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 93.
  15. (6) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 93.
  16. (13) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 93.
  17. (5) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 75.
  18. (15) Kurt Busch, Ford, Accident, 74.
  19. (3) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 74.
  20. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 74.
  21. (18) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Accident, 68.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  84.688 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 38 Mins, 50 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.325 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  8 for 17 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Stenhouse Jr. 1-5; K. Harvick 6-30; M. Truex Jr. 31; Kyle Busch 32-50; B. Keselowski 51; M. Truex Jr. 52; B. Keselowski 53-54; M. Truex Jr. 55-69; K. Larson 70-74; D. Hamlin 75-81; K. Larson 82; K. Harvick 83-93.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Harvick 2 times for 36 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 19 laps; M. Truex Jr. 3 times for 17 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 7 laps; K. Larson 2 times for 6 laps; R. Stenhouse Jr. 1 time for 5 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 3 laps.

Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick, #4

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch, #18

Stage 3 Winner: Kevin Harvick, #4

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 20 2018
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