Kevin Harvick won the 13th Annual Hollywood Casino 400 from the pole position by a margin of 1.140 seconds. Harvick led over half of the 267 laps at Kansas with 138 laps. Harvick has won three races for the 2013 season and his first victory at the Kansas Speedway. This is Harvick’s 22nd victory in 460 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
Harvick boasted the fasted time during the first practice session, and was in the top 10 for the remaining practice sessions. Winning the pole on Friday ended a drought of 254 races without a pole dating back to September 2006. Of the six career poles, Harvick has gone on to win three of the subsequent races.
“To sit on the pole and win the race, obviously, is a great weekend,” Harvick said. “Controlling our own destiny by doing that, putting ourselves closer to where we need to be with the championship race.”
Harvick admitted his car was a different car out in front leading than the same car in traffic.
“It was like driving two different cars,” Harvick said. “Out front, it was not even close, and in traffic, you were just another one of the cars and had a lot of trouble.”
Harvick got marred in traffic as untimely debris caution came out on Lap 87, crew chief for the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, Gil Martin opted to keep Harvick out on old tires while under caution for the wreck that involved #51 Brandt Chevrolet of Justin Allgaier and #39 Code 3 Associates Chevrolet of Ryan Newman of Lap 146.
Harvick made the call by Martin pay off, as he was able to stay near the front of the field for the remainder of the race.
The 71 caution laps included during the 15 cautions set a track series record at Kansas Speedway, one because of a grass fire on the bank outside of Turn 1 that concealed the track in thick smoke, provided many opportunities for wave arounds and restarts that allowed drivers to recover from lost ground.
Like Harvick, Jimmie Johnson had a strong car but was unable to get track position he needed to make a run for the victory. With two laps remaining Johnson slowed on the backstretch as he felt a vibration in the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, but the car seemed to regain power on the final lap going down the backstretch to hold on to the sixth position, after giving up fifth.
“All in all, it was just a crazy day,” said Johnson, who lost fifth place to Carl Edwards on the final lap. “There were weird restarts, wacky restarts, a lot of chaos there. Then caution after caution for who know what… we rebounded from all that, passed a lot of race cars, and then with two to go, we came down the back and started shaking real bad. I thought it was over, but I limped it around and got to the finish line.”
Kurt Busch brought his #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet home in 2nd, after started 41st with a back-up car.
“We battled hard to come from 41st. We did this in a backup car.” Kurt Busch said. “It just shows the strength of this team.”
Jeff Gordon finished 3rd, Joey Logano finished 4th, and Carl Edwards finished 5th. Johnson, Paul Menard, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola round out the top ten positions at the Kansas Speedway.
Next weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup series goes to another mile and a half track for the Bank of America 500, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Saturday October 12, coverage begins at 6:30 pm eastern time on ABC.