RICHMOND, Va. — No late-race cautions led to no problems for Kevin Harvick.
Harvick led the final 24 laps and held off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to win Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway, snapping a two-year winless streak in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Harvick, a two-time series champion, doesn’t run full-time schedules in the series any longer, but the 30-race winless streak was unusual for a driver who had 37 career wins entering the race.
Harvick dominated last weekend’s race at Atlanta but two late-race cautions and a red flag for a wreck left him vulnerable to a last-lap pass by Stenhouse, who claimed the win.
“It’s been a great year in this Nationwide car. I know we haven’t won as many races as we needed to, but we’ve led a ton of laps and have been in contention to win just about every race I’ve been in this car,” said Harvick.
“These guys have done a great job. Sometimes you go through slumps like that and when you break them it just makes it that much sweeter.”
Kurt Busch, who won the spring race at Richmond, finished third. Denny Hamlin was fourth and Michael Annett was fifth.
Elliott Sadler finished 12th and still holds a one-point lead in the series standings over Stenhouse with nine races remaining. His night could have been much worse.
Sadler and Stenhouse got together while racing for position on Lap 186, with Sadler’s No. 2 Chevrolet getting the brunt of damage. Sadler lost a lap while making repairs on pit road, but he rallied late in the race to finish on the lead lap and retain his points lead.
“We were just racing hard there and he was trying to get by,” Stenhouse said. “I let him to the inside and it seemed like every time I did that, we could roll to the outside pretty well.
“I think he dove it down into Turn 3 and got it a little loose under us and caught us in the left-rear and spun himself.”