Kevin Harvick Wins Bristol; Scores Career-High Ninth Victory of Season

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Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

●  Kevin Harvick started fourth and finished third, earning eight bonus points.

●  The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang took the lead on lap 18, when Harvick got by Brad Keselowski.

●  On lap 35, Harvick pitted for four tires and fuel. He was leading and said his car was turning very well, but needs more rear grip.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

●  Kevin Harvick started third and finished second, earning nine bonus points.  

●  The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang pitted on lap 139 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Said car was a bit tight.

●   On lap 217, Harvick got by Chase Elliott and took over second place.

●   Harvick pitted on lap 237 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Said car was still a little too tight.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):

●  Kevin Harvick started fourth and finished first.

●  The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang got by the No. 18 car driven by Kyle Busch on lap 282 to take the lead.

●   Harvick was headed to pit road on lap 408 when James Davison got into the SAFER Barrier on the outside retaining wall. Spotter Tim Fedewa called for Harvick to stay out. He pitted on lap 412 for four tires, fuel and some tape on the grill.

●   On lap 459, Kyle Busch took the lead from Harvick, but the No. 4 car got the lead back 10 laps later.

●   Harvick suffered some front end damage from the No. 51 car of Joey Gase, which was slowing him down with less than 20 laps to go, but he was able to hold off Busch by .31 of second.  

Notes:

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 50 laps.

●  Only six of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

●  Harvick remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 19-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.

●  Harvick earned his series-leading ninth victory of the season and his third victory in 40 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol.

●  Harvick’s nine wins surpassed his own mark for the most victories in a single season. He won eight races in 2018.

●  This was Harvick’s third straight top-10. He won Sept. 6 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and finished seventh in the series’ prior race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

●  Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only three finishes outside the top-15 at Bristol.

●  Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 24 of the 29 races held this year. He has only three finishes outside the top-15.

●  Harvick finished third in Stage 1 to earn eight bonus points and second in Stage 2 to earn nine more bonus points.

●  Harvick led four times for a race-high 226 laps to increase his laps-led total at Bristol to 1,138.

●  Harvick has now led 11,024 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 15,450 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.

●  Harvick has led 1,416 laps in the 29 races held this season. He is the only driver to hit the 1,000 laps led mark this season. Next best is Brad Keselowski with 912 laps led.

●  Harvick’s victory in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race marked the 88th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 65th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory, its 10th of the season and its third at Bristol.

●  SHR scored its first Bristol win in August 2016 with Harvick. The team’s second win came in August 2018 with former driver Kurt Busch.

●  This was SHR’s 29th NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when former driver Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.

●  Harvick has now won 23 NASCAR Cup Series races with Ford, which makes him one of only 13 drivers to win 20 or more races with the manufacturer. He is currently tied with Rusty Wallace, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano for 10th all time.

●  This was Ford’s series-leading 17th NASCAR Cup Series win of the season and its 703rd all-time Cup Series victory.

●  This was Ford’s 39th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Bristol and its second straight. Ford’s previous win at the track came with Brad Keselowski in the series’ last race at the track in May. Its first Bristol win came on March 31, 1963 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts.

●  This was Harvick’s 58th career NASCAR Cup Series win. He is alone at ninth on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list. Next on the all-time win list is NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt with 76 victories.

●  This was Harvick’s 35th NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014.

Playoff Standings:

1.      Kevin Harvick (3,067 points)

2.      Denny Hamlin (3,048 points) -19

3.      Brad Keselowski (3,035 points) -32

4.      Joey Logano (3,022 points) -45

5.      Chase Elliott (3,021 points) -46

6.      Martin Truex Jr. (3,016 points) -51

7.      Alex Bowman (3,009 points) -58

8.      Austin Dillon (3,005 points) -62

9.      Aric Almirola (3,005 points) -62

10.    Kyle Busch (3,004 points) -63

11.    Clint Bowyer (3,004 points) -63

12.    Kurt Busch (3,001 points) -66

Failed to Advance to Round of 12:

13.   Cole Custer (2,067 points)

14.   William Byron (2,062 points)

15.   Ryan Blaney (2,058 points)

16.   Matt DiBenedetto (2,054 points)

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, I just want to say thank you to all the fans. I was so jacked up when we started this race because of you guys and Bristol Motor Speedway. I’m just really really proud of everybody on our Busch Light Ford. Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza, everybody from Jimmy John’s, Fields.  We’ll bring the sword to the go-kart tent tomorrow, so you boys better be ready to take a picture.”

What about the battle with Kyle Busch?

“To beat Kyle Busch at Bristol, I kind of got myself in a little bit of a ringer there. I hit a lapped car and got a hole in the right-front nose, but just kept fighting. We don’t have anything else to lose. We were here to try to win a race. I know how much Rodney (Childers, crew chief) really enjoys coming here and, hell, how can you not enjoy coming here with all this enthusiasm. Everybody is tired of being at home.”

Is there any way to say how good this season has been?

“There is not.  It’s just been a weird a year, but it’s been an unbelievable year on the racetrack.  I can’t thank everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing enough.”

Those last 60 laps you navigated through lap traffic pretty well.  What can you say about the job your spotter Tim (Fedewa) did tonight and the job he did guiding you through that lap traffic?  How great was that to have on your side?

“Well, I think the best — Timmy was on it tonight. He was one step ahead of me, and that really helps because you can’t really see all the way out of the corner when you’re entering the corner and headed to the center of the corner, you can’t really tell. Him being one step ahead of me so I know what to do when I get to the next corner as far as low or high line definitely puts us in a great spot. He definitely did a great job. The biggest turning point of the night was when we were coming to pit road, cars beside me spun out and we stayed on the racetrack and without clipping the box or anything and put a bunch of them a lap down, so that was definitely a big moment.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is the fourth race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 12. It starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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