NSCS: Harvick Weathers Storm For Bristol Victory; Collects Second Cup Win Of 2016

Rence Brown 0 Comments

BRISTOL, Tenn. — After a miserable and soggy two days, in a Bass Pro Shops/NRA Night Race finished under the late afternoon sun nearly 24 hours beyond its originally scheduled start, Kevin Harvick conquered the Bristol Motor Speedway for his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season.

Harvick, who showed fantastic pace at the race’s first green flag on Saturday night would carry that momentum into the Sunday matinee. He lead 128 of the 500 laps en route to his second career victory at Bristol and the first win for Chevrolet at the track since Kasey Kahne’s surprise score in 2013.

Harvick spent most of his day on the top side of the race track, despite the attempt by track officials to rosin down the low groove at the concrete track and improve the grip levels. Sunday was his 33rd career Sprint Cup win, tying him for 22nd all-time with NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts.

After not winning since his thrilling Phoenix photo finish in March, Harvick was elated to finally taste another sweet victory.

“We should have won a lot more races this year and we’ve made mistakes this year, but to get back to Victory Lane here at Bristol feels really good,” Harvick smiled. “We’ve had some good cars here over the last few years.”

“We knew we had the performance we needed to have in the cars pretty much every week. It has been one of those deals where things have just not gone exactly right. To have the win now and try to get that momentum before we get into the Chase and get things rolling is really what we needed.”

Harvick also saluted the fans after the race by doing synchronized burnouts with his team owner, Tony Stewart, who competed in his last Bristol race on Sunday.

“I wanted him to go on a victory lap with me … (to) say goodbye to the fans one last time here at Bristol, but that was pretty cool doing burnouts with him.”

The race, scheduled for 500 laps, started under the lights on Saturday night but was quickly stopped due to rain on lap 48. NASCAR tried feverishly to dry the half-mile Tennessee short track to no avail.

Rain returned on Sunday morning and provided a nearly three and a half hour delay, with the race officially starting just after 4:30 p.m. local time. Defending Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch led everyone back to the green flag and dominated the day, pacing 256 laps overall before a broken rear shock sent his day into a turn three tailspin.

Busch had given up the race lead to Harvick at lap 348, but the crash broke loose on the 359th circuit and collected Justin Allgaier, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson.

“Something broke, obviously,” Busch explained. “It’s a shame, the last two times we’ve been here we’ve had really fast M&M’s Toyota Camry’s and we haven’t been able to finish. We’ve been having parts failures here, so (it’s) something we’ve got to address and fix.”

“I’m really tired of losing races here with with parts falling apart. They’ll hear about it on Tuesday.”

Racing resumed but cautions bred cautions.

On lap 374, leader Kurt Busch lost control of his No. 41 Chevrolet off turn two and spun to the inside, collecting Brad Keselowski as chaos ensued.

In total, 10 cars were collected, including Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Brian Scott, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney.

The eldest Busch entered the event with a historic streak completing every lap in the Cup season through 22 races, but was finally denied Sunday at Bristol.

That carnage then gave way to Joey Logano, who assumed command at a restart on lap 390 with Harvick chasing. While he restarted third, Harvick wasted little time, resuming command out front of the field with 97 laps left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.