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NWS: Pit-road woes can't keep Harvick from win

Kevin Harvick takes Nationwide Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The best car in the Sam's Town 300 finally got to the front — just in time to win the race.

Frustrated by slow stops on pit road and a variety of different tyre strategies on the part of his competitors, Kevin Harvick passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with 25 laps left in Saturday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and pulled away to beat Hamlin by 1.361 seconds.

The victory was Harvick's first of the season and the 35th of his career, second best all-time in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.

Carl Edwards ran third, polesitter Brad Keselowski fourth and Brian Vickers fifth. Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Paul Menard, Greg Biffle and Steve Wallace completed the top ten.

Danica Patrick fell out of the race after a crash on lap 83 and finished 36th in her final NASCAR race before returning full-time to the IndyCar Series.

Fortunately for Harvick, his #33 Chevrolet had enough muscle to overcome what crew chief Ernie Cope termed the team's "worst day ever" on pit road. Harvick lost spots on every exchange of pit stops.

"The car was really fast," said Harvick, who led a race-high 82 laps, most of them early in the race before getting burned by the lacklustre work in the pits. "We've definitely got some work to do on pit road, but, fortunately, the car was fast enough.

"I get mad, and they (the crew) know how I am and what I expect of them. … But you can only gripe about it so long, and then you have to go back and drive the car."

Kyle Busch led 43 laps and was chasing Harvick and Hamlin during the final 25-lap green-flag run before contact with the wall in turn two slowed his progress and dropped him to 16th at the finish. Busch, however, had the strongest car at the midpoint of the 200-lap race and led Vickers by 3.537 seconds when NASCAR yellow-flagged the race for the fourth time on lap 104 because of a light rain shower.

That caution came 21 laps after Patrick's #7 Chevrolet slammed into the outside wall, thanks to contact from Michael McDowell's Dodge. Patrick, who pitted for fuel on lap 17 and ran as high as third during a cycle of green-flag stops, had returned to the track with fresh tyres and was closing quickly on McDowell, who was logging laps after blowing a tyre and hitting the wall on lap 16.

As Patrick ducked to the inside to make the pass, McDowell turned down and took away her line.




Related Pictures

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Kevin Harvick takes Nationwide victory at Las Vegas
Kevin Harvick drives the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet back to pit road after cutting a tyre during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, lead the field to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare/Project Pink Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, Driver of the #51 Toyota Care Toyota takes the chequered flag to win the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, Driver of the #51Toyota Care Toyota celebrates winning the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The green flag waves at the start of the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, and Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Derrike Cope, driver of the #70 youtheory Chevrolet, and Jamie Dick, driver of the #55 VIVA Auto Group Chevrolet, spin out after an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets ready to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets ready to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS captured the pole position Friday, September 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Harvick is in the Chase. Sunday will determine who advances to the next phase of the Chase, the Contender 12. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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