A lightning-quick pitstop for fuel propelled Kevin Harvick to his second career Gander RV Duel win.

Daytona 500 polesitter William Byron brought the field down the green flag in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and led the opening 15 laps with teammate Jimmie Johnson trailing him.

Harvick started Thursday’s 60-lap event in eighth place and ran near that spot for the opening stint.

Harvick pitted with the majority of the field on lap 12. His Stewart Haas Racing crew executed a perfect three-second splash-and-go pit stop which allowed Harvick to leapfrog his way ahead of his competition.

Singapore GP #2 - Feel The Rush

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Byron surrendered his lead after he made his pit stop on lap 15. Landon Cassill also led one lap before pitting, which elevated Harvick to the front on lap 17.

The field ran single file for the next ten laps until the caution flag on lap 25 flew for contact between Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch on the backstretch on lap 25. Johnson tagged Busch’s left quarter panel sending him into a spin. Johnson pitted to repair his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro but remained on the lead lap.

Busch fared worse as he lost a lap as his crew made repairs.

Harvick cleared the Wood Brothers Ford of Paul Menard on the restart on lap 29 with help from the fellow Ford of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr Menard only fell to third and was trailed by Martin Truex, Jr and Chris Buscher for the next 30 laps.

Things changed on the final lap as Menard pulled alongside Stenhouse heading into turn three in an attempt to take the lead. He was unable to mount a charge on Harvick and crossed the line 0.165 seconds ahead of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Menard dropped to third place but completed a top-three sweep for the new Ford Mustang.

Matt DiBenedetto claimed a stellar fourth-place finish for the Levine Family Racing’s single-car outlet and Martin Truex Jr made it two Toyotas in the top five. Bubba Wallace led a Chevrolet 6-7-8 sweep followed by Chris Buscher and 7-time series champion Jimmie Johnson as Ryan Newman and rookie Ryan Preece rounded out the top ten.

The race to make it into the 500 came down to the wire as Parker Klingerman prevailed over Ryan Truex.

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick also was part of the battle, but was the most secure of the three as his qualifying time and starting spot of third was enough to lock him into the field. He found bad luck early as he lost a lap early when he missed his pit stall on lap 15.

His luck turned around slightly as he got the free pass and got back on the lead lap. Meanwhile, Klingerman and Truex both fluttered from the front to the back most of the night and eventually settled in 13th and 14th as the laps wound down.

Klingerman used the lapped car of Kyle Busch to slingshot his way around Reddick for 12th with three laps to go and remained ahead make it into his first 500. Truex remained in 14th place, not good enough to transfer.

Pole sitter Byron, who held the only determined spot in the field, dropped out of the draft on lap 34 to reduce the risk of hurting his primary car and finished 16th, the final car on the lead lap.

A pair of former series champions found themselves deep in the finishing order as Kyle Busch never recovered from his spin and finished 18th. Brad Keselowski had a disappointing day after suffering two penalties – one for pitting outside of his box and another for speeding on pit road while serving his penalty. He finished 20th.

 

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