Harvick Wins Wreck-Filled Race At Kansas Speedway
He handled both better than anybody else.
Harvick pulled away from Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon on a late restart to win a wreck-filled race over the recently repaved track, keeping his No. 29 Chevrolet out of trouble all afternoon and making a big move in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
"It was an interesting weekend, to say the least," said Harvick, who moved into third in points behind leaders Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson. "Everybody was battling the tires and the track, and I think it was like driving on a razor blade."
Harvick sat on the pole for the first time in 254 races, and that should have given him some confidence. He also won the last time he qualified first, at New Hampshire in 2006.
Harvick was chased across the line by Busch and Gordon. Joey Logano finished fourth, Carl Edwards was fifth, and Johnson finished sixth despite a hiccup with his engine on the final lap that cost him a spot on the track.
Kenseth held onto his lead in the Chase with an 11th-place finish. Johnson narrowed the gap to three points, while Harvick closed to within 25 points heading to Charlotte.
Kyle Busch was the big loser after crashing out of his third straight Sprint Cup race at Kansas. He dropped from third in points to fifth, 35 out of first place.
There were 15 cautions in the race, breaking the record of 14 set in last year's race. The first came when the race wasn't even a lap old and Danica Patrick slammed into the wall, and most of them occurred when cars got loose coming out of Turn 2.
Kenseth both called the race "treacherous," pointing to the combination of a repave last year and Goodyear's new "multi-zone" tires that made it seem as if they were skating across a smooth, glasslike surface most of the afternoon. All of it was compounded by temperatures in the 50s at the start, more than 30 degrees cooler than practice earlier in the week.
One of the intriguing story lines coming into the race involved Chase contender Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, who got together in the Nationwide race Saturday.
Keselowski said that Busch intentionally dumped him and seemed to indicate he would retaliate in the Sprint Cup race. Keselowski even asked NASCAR President Mike Helton in the prerace driver's meeting about the line between hard racing and intentional wrecks.
It turned out that Busch kept going for spins without Keselowski's help.
The first one came down the front stretch when he appeared to squeeze Juan Pablo Montoya, sending Busch sideways across the track. The second spin came after a restart a moment later, and this one sent his No. 18 Toyota head-first into the Turn 1 wall and ended his day.
Harvick didn't seem to have a whole lot of trouble with track, or the tires.
He was fast from the moment he unloaded this weekend, and then turned heads with his fast qualifying run. Harvick got off pit sequence early in the race and was shuffled to the back of the pack, but he was fast every time he got into clean air.
That was the case at the end, when he pulled away for an easy victory.
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