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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.




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Kevin Harvick takes Nationwide victory at Las Vegas
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate A Driver Chevrolet SS qualified for third position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Harvick is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, leads thre field past the green flag to start during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, pits during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, September 5, 2014 for Saturday night`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Harvick is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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