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Harvick steals victory at The Glen

13 August 2006

Kevin Harvick did the almost unthinkable when he passed Tony Stewart late in the AMD at the Glen and then held on to deny the defending series champion a fourth win in five years at the Watkins Glen road course.

When Stewart blasted by Harvick to take the lead on the back straight with nine of the 90 laps remaining around the 2.45-mile circuit the race for victory seemed to be over but when the caution flag waved at the end of the lap it gave Harvick a chance to regroup for one last attack.

Surprisingly Harvck had the ammunition to keep Stewart in check on the restart and as they came out of the final turn on lap 87 Harvick was able to size up the leader and re-take the lead on the run into the first turn. Try as he might, and he did, Stewart simply couldn't get back on terms with Harvick and had to settle for second place on a day where for the most part he looked to have the most dominant car by some margin.

Just behind the top two finishers Jamie McMurray and Robby Gordon enjoyed a great tussle over third place, which went to McMurray despite Gordon's most spectacular kerb jumping efforts at the Bus Stop each lap while Carl Edwards benefited from a chaotic final lap to take fifth place.

Going into the last lap it was Ryan Newman who held fifth position from a charging Boris Said, Edwards, Jeff Burton and polesitter Kurt Busch. However when Said tapped Newman into a spin going into the Bud Stop all hell broke loose behind them as Edwards was forced across the grass, Busch tapped Burton into a spin, Ron Fellows straight lined the chicane and several others disappeared into the dust cloud. A little later round the lap both JJ Yeley and Kasey Kahne also ran off course, leaving the order looking very different when the chequered flag fell.

Edwards overcame his off-course moment to take fifth with Said taking sixth for his third top ten finish from four starts with the #60 No Fear Racing team with Scott Pruett coming through for seventh and Elliott Sadler, Newman and Fellows completing the top ten.

Kyle Busch finished eleventh after a remarkable race in which he broke a rear track bar early in the race and lost five laps. However a flurry of mid-race caution periods coupled with the fact that nobody else fell off the lead lap meant that the Hendrick Motorsports driver picked up a record-breaking five Lucky Dog awards to put him back on the lead lap for the final 30 laps. Busch then scythed through the field for one of the most remarkable finishes in recent memory, passing leading rookie Denny Hamlin on the final lap and capitalising on the incident between his brother and Burton to gain another two spots.

Burton crossed the line in 13th place with Reed Sorensen 14th and Jeff Gordon 15th after a late race spin in turn one courtesy of Mark Martin. Points leader Jimmie Johnson wasn't a factor and finished 19th, one place ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr, who also had a spin in turn one during the latter stages of the event.

Polesitter Busch took 21st place after a chaotic day that saw his fellow front row starter Kahne punt him wide in turn one on the opening lap before fighting back to take the lead only to have NASCAR penalise him on lap 53 for pitting seconds after the pits closed during the sixth caution period of the day. That relegated Busch to the end of the lead lap runners and put him in prime position to get involved in the biggest crash of the day on lap 60 resulting in some minor damage and yet another delay.

Still the driver of the #2 Penske Racing Dodge fought back and was poised for a top 12 finish when disaster struck on the final lap.

Others who endured a bad day included Kahne, who remains out of the top ten in points thanks to his final lap excursion and Greg Biffle, who was rammed into the barriers at the Bus Stop by Kyle Petty and lost 15 laps while the damage was repaired. The driver of the #16 Roush Racing Ford was classified 38th and saw his chances of making the Chase for the Championship all but disappear in the process.

The race was slowed by an unusually high ten caution periods, the most serious of which came on lap 60 when nearly a dozen cars tangled in the esses. Triggered when Matt Kenseth sledged Dave Blaney into a spin, the bottleneck nature of that part of the track meant that all those behind the crash had virtually nowhere to go, Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Brian Simo and Sterling Marlin bore the brunt of the impact and were all eliminated while Busch, Kenseth, Scott Wimmer and Martin Truex Jr all suffered damage.

Belgian driver Marc Goossens had a baptism of fire and finished 43rd after two separate incidents while Michael Waltrip, Casey Mears, Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty and the returning Bill Elliott among the others who spent at least one period in the sand traps.



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