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Posted: Friday, June 27th 2014 at 11:40pm

Harvick wins Nationwide Series race at Kentucky

By Gary B. Graves, AP Sports Writer
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Kevin Harvick celebrates with a burn out after scoring the NASCAR Nationwide Series victory Friday night at Kentucky Speedway. / Photo: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
SPARTA, KY Kevin Harvick was going to take a shot at Kyle Busch if given one more chance.

Harvick's diligence finally paid off as he overtook Busch on the final restart and held off Brad Keselowski to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Friday night at Kentucky Speedway.

After failing to pass Busch's Toyota on an earlier restart, Harvick succeeded with another chance on lap 196. His Chevy gained enough space from Keselowski, who rallied from 17th following a pass-through penalty with 50 laps left to finish second in a Ford.

"I felt like I could do it," Harvick said of the pass. "We were lucky to have that last caution. ... I don't know if he got tight or loose, but my car went through there like on a rail and off it went down the backstretch. It was a good restart."

Harvick's victory was also the fifth this season for JR Motorsports, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kelly Earnhardt with Hendrick Motorsports power. It was somewhat bittersweet, as Regan Smith's late accident left him 28th and allowed Elliott Sadler to take a four-point lead over rookie Chase Elliott, another JR Motorsports driver, in the season standings. Smith is eight points back in third.

On balance the night ended well as Harvick salvaged a rough week at the track.

"Kevin did an awesome job," Earnhardt said. "He didn't have the best car for most of the race, but they definitely improved the speed toward the end of the race."

Harvick led twice for 14 laps. He has two series victories this season and 42 in 309 career starts. He also won at the track in 2001.

His triumph was surprising only because the race seemed to belong to Keselowski before his penalty gave Busch an opening that he wasn't going to relinquish. But as the laps wound down, Harvick remained close enough to Busch to still have a chance and his persistence finally paid off.

Before the pit road speeding penalty, Keselowski seemed headed for a second straight victory at the track in leading 138 laps. He settled for his seventh top-10 in as many Nationwide starts at Kentucky and third top-three in his last four.

On the penalty, Keselowski said, "I did put us behind with that, but you still have to give credit to Kevin at the end there. He drove by and took the lead, so he was really good."

Busch was third, and Paul Menard fourth.

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Kentucky Speedway - Sparta, KY
John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 - June 27, 2014


1. (7) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200 laps, 122.3 rating, 0 points, $79,350.
2. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200, 144.9, 0, $59,600.
3. (2) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200, 124.4, 0, $41,625.
4. (3) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 200, 116.8, 0, $28,350.
5. (9) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200, 108.7, 0, $22,575.
6. (12) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 200, 93.9, 38, $27,750.
7. (8) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, 101.6, 37, $26,500.
8. (5) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 200, 90, 36, $24,100.
9. (11) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200, 89.9, 0, $19,175.
10. (10) Elliott Sadler, Toyota, 200, 96, 35, $23,550.
11. (17) Dylan Kwasniewski, Chevrolet, 200, 77.9, 33, $22,250.
12. (6) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 200, 98.9, 32, $21,475.
13. (23) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 200, 78.9, 31, $20,925.
14. (19) James Buescher, Toyota, 200, 77.7, 30, $20,375.
15. (13) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 200, 82.8, 29, $21,000.
16. (21) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 200, 72.7, 0, $19,925.
17. (15) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200, 77.7, 27, $19,800.
18. (18) Chris Buescher, Ford, 200, 68.1, 26, $19,650.
19. (22) Blake Koch, Toyota, 200, 61.7, 25, $19,525.
20. (25) Dakoda Armstrong, Ford, 199, 60.5, 24, $20,100.
21. (16) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 198, 66, 23, $19,275.
22. (20) J.J. Yeley, Dodge, 198, 59.2, 22, $19,145.
23. (26) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 198, 57.2, 21, $18,995.
24. (31) Eric McClure, Toyota, 197, 48, 20, $18,845.
25. (35) Mike Wallace, Dodge, 197, 47.9, 19, $19,220.
26. (29) Jamie Dick, Chevrolet, 197, 47.3, 18, $18,595.
27. (32) Jake Crum, Chevrolet, 197, 46.7, 0, $18,470.
28. (14) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 197, 78.9, 17, $19,345.
29. (30) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 196, 46.2, 0, $18,195.
30. (27) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 195, 56.9, 14, $18,370.
31. (34) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, 194, 38.1, 13, $11,945.
32. (37) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, fuel pump, 188, 31.6, 12, $17,820.
33. (39) Ruben Garcia Jr., Chevrolet, 183, 31.5, 11, $17,710.
34. (24) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 130, 40.8, 10, $17,600.
35. (38) Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, overheating, 104, 29.3, 9, $17,475.
36. (4) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, accident, 102, 85.8, 0, $10,555.
37. (40) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, ignition, 80, 32.1, 7, $16,520.
38. (36) Tanner Berryhill, Dodge, brakes, 53, 37, 6, $16,486.
39. (33) Jeff Green, Toyota, vibration, 4, 30.8, 5, $10,350.
40. (28) Matt DiBenedetto, Chevrolet, rear gear, 2, 28.6, 4, $10,250.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 132.792 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 15 minutes, 33 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.928 seconds.

Caution Flags: 7 for 30 laps.

Lead Changes: 8 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: B.Keselowski 1-43; P.Menard 44-47; B.Keselowski 48-83; E.Sadler 84-87; R.Smith 88-89; B.Keselowski 90-148; K.Harvick 149-157; K.Busch 158-195; K.Harvick 196-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): B.Keselowski, 3 times for 138 laps; K.Busch, 1 time for 38 laps; K.Harvick, 2 times for 14 laps; P.Menard, 1 time for 4 laps; E.Sadler, 1 time for 4 laps; R.Smith, 1 time for 2 laps.

Top 10 in Points: 1. E.Sadler, 541; 2. C.Elliott, 537; 3. R.Smith, 533; 4. T.Dillon, 512; 5. B.Scott, 494; 6. T.Bayne, 482; 7. B.Gaughan, 448; 8. J.Buescher, 418; 9. C.Buescher, 414; 10. L.Cassill, 399.
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