NASCAR »

Nationwide: Harvick dominates in Texas

After 42 green flag laps, the tyre wear was starting to show and Cole Whitt and Danica Patrick were the first to decide on earlier pit stops than planned rather than risk a blow-out. Denny Hamlin was also in early, while the other leaders were keen to stay out in order to make this a one-stop race. Finally on laps 143 and 144 there was a flood of cars onto pit road, and after the sequence concluded it was Harvick and Logano back in charge and a full four seconds ahead of Kyle Busch, while Danica Patrick's early switch to fresh rubber had boosted her to fourth place ahead of Sadler and Hornish with a little over 50 laps to run.

A turn 3 spin for Joey Gase as he was running side-by-side with John Blankenship on lap 155 brought out the fourth caution of the night, and the leaders were all making a quick return to pit road with an eye to making a long run to the finish. Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgaier and Austin Dillon all stayed out while Ryan Newman pitted for fuel only putting him back out in fifth and demoting Harvick to sixth place ahead of Logano, Busch and Scott, with Sadler rounding out the top ten.

The race restarted on lap 159 and within three laps Harvick was blasting past Hamlin for the lead, with Kyle Busch in hot pursuit. It took the rest of the field another ten laps to follow them through, but by lap 170 Hamlin was back down to sixth having now also been passed by Hornish, Logano and Stenhouse.

A fifth caution on lap 176 for Joe Nemechek brushing the wall in turns 3 and 4 signalled that it was time for the other shoe to drop on the pit stop front: now it was the turn of Hamlin, Blaney and the others that had stayed out under the previous caution to come in for fuel and tyres, giving them the upper hand in terms of grip over the leaders but at the cost of track position with 19 laps to go at the restart.

Harvick and Buch went side-by-side for the lead, but it was soon clear that Harvick had the upper hand and he soon disappeared into the distance. Ryan Blaney emerged as the chief challenger among those who had just taken on fresh tyres and he breezed passed Busch with seven laps to go, but by then Harvick had already achieved a safe margin and he was able to finish 1.628s up the road from the 18-year-old at the chequered flag with Busch cruising home behind them in third place.

Busch had some glowing words of praise for Blaney afterwards: ""He's really showing what he can do," he said. "He's done a good job of doing it and being clean while doing it. He's got a lot respect for everybody out there, and he can finish top two, three, four, five week in, week out, and he does it without making a big deal out of it."

"I've been a fan of Kyle for a very long time and he's definitely one of the people that I look up to," responded Blaney, for whom second is a Nationwide Series career best. "As a rookie and a young kid when you see your idols congratulate you, that's pretty cool!"

Two of the other drivers on fresh tyres ended up having a fierce spat between themselves: Denny Hamlin was running low on the apron but still felt he was being aggressively crowded by Austin Dillon, and finally he'd had enough and let the #3 car know it with a hefty bump retaliation at the end of the race. That led to a pit lane confrontation between Hamlin and the ever-feisty Richard Childress Racing pit crew supporting the team owner's grandson: Hamlin wasn't cowed, and certainly wasn't backing down in his criticism of the youngster's immaturity, as he saw it.

With the matter of the race win settled, the focus of attention at the end of the race turned to two cars who were far apart on the track, but locked together in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler, who were having starkly contrasting fortunes in the final laps of the night.

Stenhouse had been battling his car all evening, but finally with his last set of tyres and a boatload of drastic set-up changes he found enough in the #6 to push and slide his way up into fourth place.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick pits the #33 OneMain Financial Chevrolet during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finished in 5th position and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS finished in 12th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Newman, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Kahne, who was also in the Chase, did not advance. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 26th position and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS finished in 13th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Gordon, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished in 9th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Harvick, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, spin out into the grass during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redd`s Wicked Apple Ale Ford, races Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch. August 20 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualified for 39th position Saturday, October 18, 2014 for Sunday`s Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Harvick, who is in the Chase, is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Sunday is the final round of the Contender 12 phase of the race. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS qualified for eleventh position Saturday, October 18, 2014 for Sunday`s Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Newman, who is in the Chase, is 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Sunday is the final round of the Contender 12 phase of the race. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, hugs Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fred`s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway on October 18, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Mason Mingus, driver of the #15 811 Call Before You Dig Chevrolet, Korbin Forrister, driver of the #07 McNair McLemore Midlebrooks & Co LLC Chevrolet, Ron Hornaday Jr., driver of the #9 Armour Vienna Sausage/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, and Ryan Sieg, driver of the #39 Pull-A-Part Used Auto Parta Chevrolet, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Camping World Series Fred`s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway on October 18, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, drives during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fred`s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.