Harvick wins Nationwide race at Kentucky

The Sports NetworkJune 27, 2014 

Sparta, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Harvick bounced back from his team's mistake on pit road just past the halfway point and then passed Kyle Busch for the lead following a restart with five laps remaining to win Friday night's 300-mile Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Harvick, who drove the No. 5 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in this race, had a miscommunication with his team during a pit stop under caution on lap 105, which dropped him to 18th for the restart. He was furious with his crew, expressing his displeasure over the team radio after he had left pit road.

"I kind of got into them pretty good," Harvick said. "We made a lot of mistakes. Just a frustrating place to race and a frustrating weekend."

But Harvick worked his way through the field and then moved into the lead for the first time on lap 149.

Brad Keselowski dominated this race by starting on the pole and leading 138 of the first 148 laps, but Keselowski was penalized for speeding off of pit road, dropping him to 17th in the running order.

Busch took over the lead on lap 158 when he opted not to pit during a round of stops under caution. Harvick had made several attempts to grab the top spot from Busch following two late-race restarts before he was able to make his winning pass after the final restart.

"We were on a different [pit] strategies there, and it worked out where we had fresher tires at the end," Harvick said of his battle with Busch for the lead. "There at the end, we were able to get a good restart and able to get out in front. The car was a lot better."

Keselowski benefited from the late-race cautions to move into the top-five. He took second place from Busch with four laps left, but Harvick held off Keselowski at the finish by 0.9 seconds.

"It put us a bit behind," Keselowski said of his pit-road speeding penalty. "But you have to give credit to Kevin and his team. They were really fast there at the end. I wasn't gaining on them. We needed a little bit more.

"If I would have been able to stay in the lead, I might have been able to use the clean air. But [Harvick] was definitely faster at the end. So they deserve credit. Great night all around. We started on the pole and led a lot of laps. But we were just one spot short of where we wanted to finish."

Harvick scored his 42nd career Nationwide victory, including his second this season. It was also the second time he won a race in the series at Kentucky. His first win here came in the 2001 inaugural event.

Busch ended up finishing third, while Paul Menard and Ryan Blaney, who won his first Nationwide race at this track last September, rounded out the top-five.

Brendan Gaughan placed sixth after claiming his maiden win in the series last weekend at Road America.

Rookie Ty Dillon, Brian Scott, Kyle Larson and Elliott Sadler finished seventh through 10th, respectively.

Sadler moved atop the Nationwide point standings. Regan Smith entered this race as the points leader, but Smith finished three laps behind in 28th after he was involved in an accident with rookie Ryan Reed on lap 170. He dropped to third in the standings (-8).

Chase Elliott moved up to second in points (-4) following his 12th-place run.

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