Kevin Harvick dominated the Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday night and won his 40th career NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Harvick is third on the all time wins list. Harvick held off a hard charging Kyle Busch to sail to victory.
"I knew Kyle wasn't going to make it easy," Harvick said in victory lane. "It's always fun racing with him."
Sam Hornish Jr finished third with Kasey Kahne finishing fourth and Kyle Larson finished fifth. Finishing in the sixth position was Joey Logano with Trevor Bayne finishing seventh, Austin Dillon eighth, Regan Smith finished ninth and Brian Scott finished in the tenth position.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway started with Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon on the front row. Busch led early and began to pull away from the field. Dillon would lose second to Trevor Bayne who, on lap 15, trailed Kyle Busch by 1.6 seconds. Dillon would pass Bayne back for second on lap 18 and tried to close in on Busch's lead.
Close in Dillon would as he began to trim down on Busch's lead. By lap 31 Busch's lead was only one second. On lap 32 Alex Bowman began to experience engine problems. Bowman would retire after lap 32 and finish 34th. Meanwhile Dillon was still chasing down Busch's lead but on lap 35 the races' first caution flag flew when Robert Richardson Jr spun and hit the inside wall coming off of turn two. Richardson had minimal damage and would continue and finished in the 25th position.
The leaders would pit and when the race resumed on lap 41 Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon led the field to green. Dillon gave Busch a heck of a run on the restart and even passed him for the lead on lap 43. On lap 44 Kasey Kahne brought out the races' second caution of the night when he spun in turn two. Kahne didn't hit anything and would continue.
On the next restart on lap 49 Kyle Busch began to pull away from the field and another driver began to show his muscle. Kevin Harvick drove through the field, after starting in the 20th position and soon found himself taking second place away from teammate Austin Dillon on lap 50. Once Harvick got around Dillon he set his sights on Kyle Busch.
Busch was leading but his car began to fade and Harvick began to close in on Busch. On lap 58 Harvick moved passed Busch for the lead and pull away quickly from Busch. Harvick began to put distance on the field. By lap 68 Harvick had a 1.6 second lead over the field. By lap 80 Harvick's lead was 2.2 seconds over Joey Logano. Logano was trying to chase down the leader and on lap 86 his day took a turn for the worse. Logano would blow a right front tire and hit the outside wall. He would pit and would continue.
The leaders would begin a round of green flag pit stops on lap 93. Harvick still led on lap 98 after the pit stops and was leading when the races' third caution flag flew on lap 104 for debris. The race would restart on lap 110 with Harvick on the low side and Logano high. Harvick began to pull away from the field again and led by 3 seconds on lap 127. By lap 137 Harvick's lead was 3.5 seconds. Another round of green flag pit stops occurred and the leader Harvick stopped on lap 150. After the pit stops Harvick's lead was chopped to just a half of a second on lap 155. Joey Logano had chopped Harvick's lead down by short pitting.
Harvick's lead was two seconds on lap 167 but it wasn't without a scare. Harvick thought he was experiencing a loose wheel on his #33 Chevrolet as he had a huge vibration on his car. He continued to feel the vibration and his lead was chopped down to 1.2 seconds. Harvick would catch a break on lap 181 when Jeff Green crashed causing the races' fourth and final caution.
Green tried to clear Ken Butler III's Chevrolet but did not have enough room and slammed the front stretch wall destroying his #14 Tri-Star Motorsports Toyota. Green, who was filling in for Eric McClure, finished 29th.
The leaders would pit and Kevin Harvick had a chance to change that loose wheel, which he did. The vibration went away and he would lead the field to green on lap 189.
On lap 191 Harvick and Busch were side by side and the two battled for another lap or two before Harvick pulled away. Busch would try and close in on Harvick but just didn't have enough steam on the final lap to make the pass and Harvick went on to victory.
Other notables in the field include Justin Allgaier in 11th, Nelson Piquet Jr in 12th, Brian Vickers in 15th and Elliott Sadler in 18th.
Sam Hornish Jr extended his points lead over Austin Dillon by ten points after the Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Third in the points is Elliott Sadler, who is 26 points behind the lead. Regan Smith is fourth in the standings 29 points back and Justin Allgaier is fifth in the standings 47 points behind. Sixth in the standings is Brian Vickers with Kyle Larson seventh, Brian Scott eighth, Trevor Bayne ninth and Parker Kligerman tenth.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series moves to the Richmond International Raceway next weekend for the running of the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 on Friday September 6th.
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