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Goody's Fast Relief 500 - Race results

3 April 2011

Kevin Harvick sealed his reputation as the best "closer" in the Sprint Cup series by staging his second race win snatch-and-grab in a row in the final laps at Martinsville. But he could well have become the most hated man in Virginia that night as a result, as his win came at the expense of crowd favourite Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"I was catching [Dale] and I'm like, 'Man, I'm going to be the bad guy here!'" Harvick admitted to feeling during those final laps: "But I've got to do what I've got to do."

Dale's second place is his best result since the 2010 Daytona 500, and was largely the result of some very clever pit stop strategy from his new crew chief Steve Letarte which included a two-tyre call on lap 205, and then a four tyre-and-fuel stop under a caution on lap 373 that was managed without losing his then-ninth position while all the cars in front stayed out.

Once again Kyle Busch came away with the points for leading the most laps but was unable to seal the deal for the race itself, admitting that the #18 just didn't have the pace over short runs between cautions to challenge Harvick and Earnhardt at the end. Still, third place is his best finish at Martinsville and he is the only driver to have top-fives in four of the first six races. Unsurprisingly, then, this consistency puts him at the top of the Sprint Cup points standings, 5pts ahead of Carl Edwards.

Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson had been pre-race favourites for the win and indeed featured high up the positions for most of the afternoon, but fell foul of complications arising from their final pit stops: Hamlin's pit stop came just before a full-course caution came out that cost him a lap on those yet to pit, while Johnson was judged to have speeded in pit lane and was handed a drive-thru penalty.

The race saw eleven cautions, typical for such a small and claustrophobic track. The worst was on lap 220 when a stuck throttle on the #56 of Martin Truex Jr. sent the car into a hard and fiery hit against the SAFER that required the race to be red flagged for 25 minutes of clean-up.

Race results

1. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 3:32:41.000s Running (47/4 pts)
2. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet + 0.727s Running (43/1 pts)
3. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota + 0.741s Running (43/2 pts)
4. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet + 2.370s Running (40/0 pts)
5. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet + 3.214s Running (40/1 pts)
6. #17 Matt Kenseth Ford + 3.503s Running (38/0 pts)
7. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet + 4.832s Running (38/1 pts)
8. #6 David Ragan Ford + 5.507s Running (36/0 pts)
9. #33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet + 6.036s Running (36/1 pts)
10. #5 Mark Martin Chevrolet + 6.251s Running (34/0 pts)
11. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet + 6.918s Running (34/1 pts)
12. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota + 9.717s Running (33/1 pts)
13. #20 Joey Logano Toyota + 1 lap Running (31/0 pts)
14. #43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford + 1 lap Running (31/1 pts)
15. #00 David Reutimann Toyota + 1 lap Running (29/0 pts)
16. #22 Kurt Busch Dodge + 1 lap Running (28/0 pts)
17. #83 Brian Vickers Toyota + 1 lap Running (27/0 pts)
18. #99 Carl Edwards Ford + 1 lap Running (27/1 pts)
19. #2 Brad Keselowski Dodge + 2 laps Running (25/0 pts)
20. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet + 2 laps Running (25/1 pts)
21. #16 Greg Biffle Ford + 2 laps Running (23/0 pts)
22. #32 Ken Schrader Ford + 3 laps Running (22/0 pts)
23. #7 Robby Gordon Dodge + 3 laps Running (21/0 pts)
24. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet + 5 laps Running (20/0 pts)
25. #37 Tony Raines Ford + 7 laps Running (19/0 pts)
26. #09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet + 7 laps Running (0pts)
27. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota + 11 laps Running (17/0 pts)
28. #71 Hermie Sadler Chevrolet + 12 laps Running (0pts)
29. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford + 13 laps Running (15/0 pts)
30. #36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet + 14 laps Running (14/0 pts)
31. #78 Regan Smith Chevrolet + 24 laps Running (13/0 pts)
32. #66 Michael McDowell Toyota + 30 laps Running (12/0 pts)
33. #34 David Gilliland Ford + 32 laps Running (11/0 pts)
34. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet + 38 laps Running (10/0 pts)
35. #21 Trevor Bayne Ford + 40 laps Running (0pts)
36. #13 Casey Mears Toyota + 43 laps Running (8/0 pts)
37. #38 Travis Kvapil Ford after 443 laps Drive Shaft (0pts)
38. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet after 261 laps Overheating (6/0 pts)
39. #4 Kasey Kahne Toyota after 219 laps Accident (6/1 pts)
40. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota after 219 laps Accident (4/0 pts)
41. #46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet after 33 laps Brakes (3/0 pts)
42. #60 Mike Skinner Toyota after 31 laps Brakes (0pts)
43. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota after 25 laps Brakes (0pts)


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