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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]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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