Stewart Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick began a new streak today with a victory at Richmond, breaking his previous skid of 65 races without a victory last week.
In the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on Sunday afternoon in Richmond, Kevin Harvick, who ended a two-season losing drought last week, passed Joey Logano and easily won for the second time in a row.
Christopher Bell, who finished in second place, and Chris Buescher, who took third place, were chasing Harvick in the final laps as he navigated traffic to win Sunday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway by 0.441s.
The win in the NASCAR Cup Series marked Harvick’s fourth at the 0.75-mile short circuit, his first there since 2013, and his 60th overall, tying Kyle Busch for ninth place all-time and giving him the most among active drivers.
After punching his playoff ticket at Michigan last weekend by victory, Harvick issued a warning. When the veteran driver triumphed in Richmond today in what seemed like three different races, the warning became considerably louder.
On lap 334, Harvick overtook Joey Logano who finished sixth for the lead, then on lap 353, at the conclusion of a series of green-flag pit stops, he regained it from Denny Hamlin. Together, Harvick led the race for 55 laps.
“It’s like I said last week… the cars have been running good week-in and week-out,” Harvick said.
“You see that we have a lot better understanding of what’s going on with how we adjusted on the car after the first run and were able to get our car handling a lot better.”
“I knew he (Christopher Bell) was coming, but I forgot to shift down the front straightaway the last time. I was not paying attention and he got closer than he should have.”
“I made a mistake there a couple laps doing the same thing. I wasn’t shifting on the back and I was shifting in the front… There was a lot going on, and made a couple mistakes, let him get too close.”
Bell was making a strong push in the final laps, but as he collided with the No. 4 car, he simply ran out of time.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver overcame many challenges to place second in the race. Bell spun by himself shortly after a Stage 2 restart because the team received a penalty for having too many men over the wall during a mid-race pit stop.
Bell, who has already claimed a triumph this year, seems content with the runner-up finish.
“Really, really proud of [crew chief] Adam Stevens, this entire 20 group,” Bell said.
“The Rheem Camry didn’t feel very good at the beginning, and we had our fair share of troubles [including a spin on lap 250], and the pit crew really came through at the end there with some blazing stops and allowed us to get in front of the No. 11 [Hamlin], who was on the same strategy as us and get up there and contend.”
Chris Buescher finished third, his second top-five result of the season, thanks to a strong effort. Those figures would undoubtedly be higher if a sequence of uncontrollable circumstances hadn’t occurred. In spite of this, Brad Keselowski had a good day for the RFK Racing squad, finishing among the top 15.
“Just burned the rear tires up,” Buescher admitted. “Ultimately, that’s on me.”
“Lapped traffic didn’t do us any favors, either, but ultimately just got to keep the rears under us a little bit better so we can have a little bit better shot there to get after him for the win.”
“Everyone on our Fastenal Mustang did such a tremendous job overnight because we didn’t know we were in this position yesterday. I didn’t qualify real well, and everyone worked hard and had a fantastic race car today.”
“It’s nice to be close and to keep progressing and getting better as we’ve gotten through the summer.”
Chase Elliott came in fourth behind Hamlin in the finishing order. A record-breaking 222 of the race’s laps were led by Logano, but his No. 22 Ford struggled late in the race.
Ryan Blaney increased his lead over Martin Truex Jr. in the race for the final playoff spot, despite Truex ending seven places ahead of Blaney in the standings. Stage points were different, that’s all.
With two races remaining in the regular season, Blaney has a 26-point lead over Truex after scoring 11 to none. Truex was the 2017 series champion.
Kyle Busch had a challenging run but managed to finish in the top ten for the first time in the previous five races.
Ross Chastain, who started on the front row, dominated the first stage of the race, but things took a turn for the worst after that. On the Stage 2 restart, he started to slump and complained of a problem with his rear tires.
Later on, he crashed into the left rear of the No. 18 Camry and brought out the caution. Ross was never able to make it back to the front and came in 18th place.
In Stage 2, Ty Gibbs also encountered Kyle, and the two Toyota drivers traded bumper contact as they competed for track position. Despite winning the battle, the young driver’s day was cut short on lap 183 when an engine problem sent the No. 45 23XI Racing car to the pits.
As the playoff race enters a wild stage, the pressure is now on. There are still two races left in the regular season, with the next one taking place at Watkins Glen’s road track before heading to Daytona.
2022 FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400 – RACE RESULTS
|1||Kevin Harvick||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford|
|2||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|3||Chris Buescher||RFK Racing||Ford|
|4||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|5||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|6||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford|
|7||Martin Truex Jr||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|8||Aric Almirola||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford|
|9||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|10||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford|
|11||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|12||Austin Cindric||Team Penske||Ford|
|13||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing||Toyota|
|14||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|15||Brad Keselowski||RFK Racing||Ford|
|16||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|17||Ty Dillon||Petty GMS Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|18||Ross Chastain||TrackHouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|19||Daniel Suarez||TrackHouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|20||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|21||JJ Yeley||Rick Ware Racing||Ford|
|22||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|23||Chase Briscoe||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford|
|24||Noah Gragson||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet|
|25||Harrison Burton||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford|
|26||Cole Custer||Stewart Haas Racing||Ford|
|27||Todd Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|28||Corey LaJoie||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|29||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|30||Landon Cassill||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|31||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|32||JJ Yeley||Rick Ware Racing||Ford|
|33||BJ McLeod||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford|
|34||Cody Ware||Rick Ware Racing||Ford|
|35||Erik Jones||Petty GMS Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|36||Ty Gibbs||23XI Racing||Toyota|