Kevin Harvick claimed the win in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 on the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway oval, in what was an unusual Wednesday night outing for one of NASCAR's national series.
The win is the third race Harvick's clinched in a row in what is the first time this season he's even entered three consecutive races in the Camping World Truck Series. It's also the first time he's won in Trucks at Bristol, which makes this a circuit where he's now won in all three national-level NASCAR series over the years.
Harvick took the lead at the restart on lap 98 and kept it from there to the end of the race, managing to hold off Johnny Sauter in the final restart with ten to go to win by 0.434s. Elliott Sadler had led the first quarter of the race and Jason White led the second quarter, before Harvick "had a smoking fast pit stop" in his own words to beat White out of pit road and from there he dominated the latter half of the evening.
Coupled with Kyle Busch crashing out mid-race and finishing in 30th position, that gives Harvick the lead in the car owner's points duel with his arch rival. Neither Cup regular is eligible to scores driver's points in the Truck Series.
On lap 100, Busch had found himself battling with Elliott Sadler after a restart, and when he tried to come up the track to slot into position there was contact and Busch was sent hard into the wall, which caved in the front right of the #18 truck. Busch was convinced that Sadler had done it purpose, and stayed out long enough to track Sadler down and spin him in retaliation.
"I pulled a slide job on him [earlier in the race] and he ran into me three times after that," complained Busch. "On that restart there I was trying to slide him and get up to the top. The spotter said I was clear and I was clear at the time. Maybe I was too late. He wrecked us and I'm not going to put up with it."
"I didn't even have time to check up or anything," responded Sadler, who was able to continue running after the spat. "He just wrecked himself. I just wish he'd watch the tape and understand what happened before he came back and retaliated."
Busch later hinted that Sadler - a regular driver for Kevin Harvick Inc. - may even have had other reasons for spinning him out of the race, referring to the feud between Busch and Harvick earlier this season that ended up with them both on probation.
"Elliott Sadler wasn't even driving my truck [tonight]," said Harvick refuting Kyle's insinuation. "You can't fix a crybaby and he's just a crybaby."
There were nine cautions in all, including a spin for Ron Hornaday off turn 2 on lap 10. Miguel Paludo, coming off a career-best third place finish at Michigan last week, was sidelined this week with engine problems.
The rare Wednesday evening timing for the Camping World Truck Series race was imposed by the Friday evening slot for the Nationwide Series, and the Saturday evening scheduling of the Sprint Cup race main feature. Despite the mid-week slot, attendance was an impressive 53,000 - although that still represented only a third of the track's capacity, and Bristol Motor Speedway looked disappointingly deserted in areas.
Full results and positions