Kevin Harvick Outruns Teammate, Chase Elliott For Win In ToyotaCare 250 At Richmondby Hunter Thomas April 26, 2014
Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
RICHMOND, Va. – After battling rain for most of the day on Friday at Richmond International Raceway, Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag early Saturday morning in the ToyotaCare 250, making it three races in a row a JR Motorsports car has found Victory Lane in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The win marked Kevin Harvick’s seventh win and 20th top-10 finish in 25 races at Richmond in the Nationwide Series. With Regan Smith winning at Daytona International Speedway back in February and Chase Elliott winning at Texas Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway over the past few weekends, Harvick’s win is JR Motorsports’ fourth of the season, tying the organization’s best.
“We just had a good weekend altogether,” Kevin Harvick said. “We’ve just had a lot of good weekends, and tonight we were just able to finish it off. Everybody is just doing a great job. The cars are running fast, and everybody is communicating well and doing what they have to do to get better every week. It has been a lot of fun. Racing with Chase is fun. He is just a great kid and drives the heck out of a race car and keeps pushing all of us, whether he knows it or not, he even pushes all of us to be better too.”
When track finally dried and the field took the green flag not long after 10 p.m. Friday night, heavy fog began to set in causing major problems for spotters. The first caution came out on lap five when Tanner Berryhill’s transmission broke going down the backstretch, and with the heavy fog, many drivers scrambled to avoid Berryhill. Unfortunately someone got into Kevin Lepage, sending him hard into the inside wall.
Not long after the halfway point, the NASCAR Nationwide Series rookies began beating on each other while trying to crack the top-10. The tension finally broke when Ryan Reed got into the back of Dylan Kwasniewski coming out of turn four. The contact cut down Kwasniewski’s left rear tire, sending him hard into the outside wall in a shower of sparks.
“You know, I just got inside of him there and I got inside of him three or four times and gave him the position and finally it just got to the point where it was go time,” Ryan Reed said. “Once I was inside and I went back to throttle he came back down the track and I got into his left rear. I didn’t mind moving him up the track but I wasn’t trying to wreck him. You can only block a guy so many laps before he is going to move you and once he moves you it is kind of up to fate at that point what is going to happen.”
On the restart, Elliott Sadler spun his tires and was put in a very bad position entering turn one. As the field ran out of room, Regan Smith got into the back of Sadler and sent both cars spinning. Amazingly no one hit Sadler or Smith as they spun up the track in turn one.
“Spun the tires a little bit and Kyle (Busch) made me three-wide,” Elliott Sadler said. “I think Trevor (Bayne) got in the back of Regan (Smith) and hit him and then he hit me and we all spun. Just lucky nobody hit us. Very frustrating — this is my home track.
“I feel like we were in position on the long run and we maybe could have at least ran up there with the 5 (Kevin Harvick) and the 9 (Chase Elliott) a little bit. I’m proud of my guys. This is going to hurt tonight a little bit in the points after going all the way back and coming all the way back up through, but I wanted that top-five real bad. We’ll move on to Talladega next week.”
Regan Smith and Elliott Sadler do have a rivalry, especially after New Hampshire Motor Speedway last year when Smith got into the back of Sadler in turns one and two. However, this particular accident on Friday night appeared to be just a racing accident, but it’s something to certainly keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Chase Elliott was right on the back bumper of Kevin Harvick in the closing laps, but as they dissipated, Harvick began to take away. In the end, it just wasn’t enough for Elliott who won the previous two races this season. Kevin Harvick battled through lapped traffic and took the checkered flag, followed by Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Brian Scott.
Eighteen-year old Chase Elliott continues to lead the points standings by 19 over teammate, Regan Smith. Elliott Sadler (-23) is third, Ty Dillon (-35) fourth and Trevor Bayne (-39) fifth.
Up next on the schedule, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will head to Alabama for the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. You can catch the race on Saturday, May 3 live on ESPN and MRN at 3 p.m.
ToyotaCare 250 Top-10 Results:
1.) #5 Kevin Harvick
2.) #9 Chase Elliott
3.) #54 Kyle Busch
4.) #42 Kyle Larson
5.) #2 Brian Scott
6.) #11 Elliott Sadler
7.) #60 Chris Buescher
8.) #7 Regan Smith
9.) #22 Ryan Blaney
10.) #99 James Buescher