Kevin Harvick surged to the front on a one-lap shootout to end Stage 1 and rolled to a dominating win in Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick has won the Xfinity Series race at AMS four of the last six years and five times overall.
Only seven cars finished on the lead lap as Harvick set a strong pace after starting fifth. The No. 98 car led 137 of 163 laps.
“It’s just been a really good place for me,” said Harvick, whose first ever Cup Series win came at Atlanta in 2001. “The race track has stayed very similar to what it’s been for a number of years. It’s been a great race track for us. I was frustrated last year when we didn’t leave here with a trophy on either day and that’s always our goal.”
Joey Logano was second but never seriously challenged Harvick and finished 4.183 seconds back.
“I don’t think we were even close,” Logano said with a head shake. “Kevin played with us all day long. He ran a few hard laps when he needed to. It doesn’t matter what car he’s driving, Kevin’s just really good at Atlanta.
“Second always stings a little bit.”
Pole-sitter Christopher Bell, a rookie in Xfinity after winning last year’s Camping World Truck Series championship, led 11 laps and ended up third. His rear tire tagged the wall with five laps to go, and the No. 20 car lost a spot to Logano.
“I just got really loose there the last run,” Bell said. “I don’t know. I wish I would have been able to hold off a little longer and been second instead of third, but overall a really good points day for us to start out the 2018 season. This place is a ton of fun.”
Chevy drivers occupied the next three spots. John Hunter Nemechek was fourth in his series debut, followed by Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier. Austin Cindric was seventh and the rest of the field finished a lap, or more, off the lead.
For more information or to purchase tickets today, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS- TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.