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Harvick dominates Nationwide race at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick passed pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the next-to-last lap and pulled away to win Saturday night's Degree V12 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch, who also passed Earnhardt on lap 194 of 195, ran second and padded his Nationwide Series points lead from 192 to 221 over second-place Carl Edwards, who completed the race despite fracturing two bones in his right foot playing frisbee on Wednesday. Edwards finished seventh, one lap down.

After pitting for the last time on lap 125, Earnhardt saved enough fuel to make it to the end of the race but couldn't stay ahead of Busch and Harvick, who came to the pits for four tyres and gas on lap 181 and 182, respectively.

Brad Keselowski came home fourth, followed by Jeff Burton and Joey Logano.

"Kyle was a little better on the short runs there, but after about eight or 10 laps, this thing was just flat-out awesome," Harvick said of his #33 Chevrolet. "We cut it a little bit closer than I would have liked to there at the end.

"It was nice to race the 18 (Busch) head-to-head like that and have fun with him. I really thought everybody had to pit. Just a great night for the fans who came out to watch the race - Dale Jr. on strategy, Kyle good on short runs and us good after about 10 laps - so you had all kinds of that good Atlanta racing tonight."

Earnhardt credited his crew, which included former crew chief Tony Eury Jr. in a consulting role, with a good call in the pits.

"We saved enough gas, and we finished closer to them two guys than we were on the racetrack," Earnhardt said. "So I guess it was the right call. We just didn't have enough at the end to hold them off. I tried to get going when they were coming. Hopefully we put on a good show for the fans out there."

Harvick held a lead of more than six seconds when NASCAR called the third caution of the race on lap 124 because of debris in turn 2, ending a green-flag run of 79 laps. At that point, there were five cars on the lead lap.

Busch, however, won the race off pit road after the lead-lap cars pitted for tyres and fuel under yellow. After a restart on lap 129, he and Harvick battled side-by-side for five laps, before Busch edged ahead and stayed out front until lap 147.

Harvick's car, however, was stronger on long runs, and the driver of the #33 Chevrolet passed Busch for the lead with 48 laps left and began to pull away. His lead had reached more than seven seconds when he pulled into the pits on lap 182.


by Reid Spencer / Sporting News



Related Pictures

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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Degree V12 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday [Pic credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images]
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Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Chris Buescher, drives the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford during the Nationwide Children`s 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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