Kevin Harvick finally won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway after numerous rain delays that sent the race into Sunday afternoon. His No. 4, Stewart-Haas Chevrolet had to overcome a myriad of problems to triumph in the 24-hour NASCAR Sprint Cup 500-lap marathon. He celebrated the day ‘doing donuts’ with his car owner, Tony Stewart, on the frontstretch as a salute to his boss’s final start at the .533-mile high banked oval.
Harvick started from the 24th starting position after a poor qualifying pace and in the beginning of the race had to engage with slower traffic when on and off rain showers finally brought the event to a halt eventually moving it to the next day.
When the race was again restarted, after being delayed by rain until late Sunday afternoon, for Harvick, it didn’t take him very long to run his quick tempo letting trouble encounter the other top contenders who fell by the wayside one by one. He took control of the race with 70 laps to go and kept at bay, Ricky Stenhouse, beating him by 1.933 seconds. It was Harvick’s second win of the year, second at Bristol and 33rd of his Sprint Cup career.
“We should have won a lot of races this year, but we just had things not go our way,” said Harvick, who was out front for 128 laps pulling away at the end for the win. “We made mistakes, or whatever the case may be, but, to get back into Victory Lane here at Bristol feels really good.”
The tight quarter racing and rain showers brought our nine yellow flags with the final one coming out with 66 laps left. In the meanwhile, some of the more notable names that ran up front didn’t make it to the finish were Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch, who, alone led the most for 256 laps.
Finishing third was Denny Hamlin, who made up two laps from penalties, followed by Austin Dillon and newest member of the Sprint Cup Chase, Chris Buescher with a fifth-place finish putting him in 30th in the standings, 13 points ahead of David Ragan with three races to go.
Now the tour moves to Michigan International Speedway in nearby Brooklyn, for the running of the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, August 24.