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Harvick goes back to front at Bristol.

Kevin Harvick won a wild Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, driving from 43rd on the grid and passing the entire field on one of NASCAR's shortest circuits.

In a race where barely a dozen cars survived all 500 laps without running into an accident, Harvick scored his first win since the 2003 Brickyard 400 despite having his regular crew-chief, Todd Berrier, suspended.

Harvick, who was due to start 13th in his #29 Richard Childress Racing GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, suffered a last minute blow on Sunday morning when his RCR crew discovered a leak on his car, necessitating a change that, under NASCAR's impound rules, meant he would have to drop to the rear of the field.

Quite amazingly Harvick went from last to first inside the opening 100 laps, taking top spot for the first time on lap 92 but, in a race filled with accidents and incidents, it wasn't until lap 433 of 500 that Harvick pulled ahead for good.

The win broke a year long winless streak for team boss Childress and went a long way towards silencing those who, at first criticised the team for not attending the pre-season test at Daytona, and then scorned at their attempt to cheat during Bud Pole qualifying three weeks ago in Las Vegas.

With stand-in crew chief Scott Miller calling the shots atop the pit box, Harvick managed to avoid a car-breaking 14 caution periods and survive a potentially costly loose lug nut issue during a yellow flag pit stop with 140 laps remaining.

After making his way back into the top three as the race entered its final 80 laps, Harvick then watched gleefully as second-placed Jimmie Johnson collided with the lapped car of Michael Waltrip before easily passing a grip-less Greg Biffle for the lead as the final 67 lap green lap segment got underway.

With Biffle, the only leading car not to take fresh tyres with 85 laps remaining, becoming an increasingly awkward roadblock for everyone else, Harvick sailed serenely into the middle distance. By the time the chequered flag waved, the Bakersfield, California native had opened up a lead nearly the length of the front stretch.

Behind Harvick, the shape of the top ten changed dramatically in the closing laps as several drivers lucky enough to avoid the early and mid-race carnage, heartbreakingly found themselves with tyre troubles within sight of the finish.



Related Pictures

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NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo driver Kevin Harvick at Daytona International Raceway, Daytona Beach, Fl-Feb. 05. ©Dorsey Patrick,2005
03/11/05 Las Vegas. Elliott Sadler waits to practice prior to qualifying. Photo Credit: autostock
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Tony Stewart moments before the event,
World Copyright©Robt.LeSieur 2005 USA
People walk on pit road as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 25, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, April 24, 2015 for Saturday evening`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Harvick is the points leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Wix Chevrolet SS, finishes in fifth place and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finishes in seventh place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, leads the field in a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, has an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and David Ragan (Joe Gibbs Racing) spin out during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, races Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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