It came down to a late race restart but Kevin Harvick took the victory in the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race. It’s Harvick’s 42nd career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory and the second of his 2014 season.
Finishing in the second position was Brad Keselowski. Keselowski had the dominate car for most of the race, leading 138 of the races’ 200 laps, but a speeding penalty as Keselowski exited the pits on lap 150 changed Keselowski’s race drastically. Keselowski had to do a pass through penalty under the green flag. The penalty placed Keselowski in the 16th position. Keselowski battled back to the second spot but just couldn’t pass Harvick in the closing laps to win.
Finishing in the third position was Kyle Busch, with Paul Menard coming home fourth and Ryan Blaney finishing fifth. The sixth position went to Brendan Gaughan with Ty Dillon coming home seventh, Brain Scott eighth and Kyle Larson ninth. Elliott Sadler rounded out the top ten.
Brad Keselowski led the field to green with Kyle Busch alongside to start the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway with Keselowski pulling away early on the initial start. Keselowski was dominate and it seemed like nothing could stop him. He weaved in and out of lap traffic and had over a four second lead by lap 30. On lap 42 the races’ first caution came out for debris. The caution was an opportunity for the teams to work on their cars on the abrasive Kentucky Speedway. All the leaders would pit and Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard would lead the field on the lap 47 restart.
Keselowski’s early assault on the field continued as he caught lap traffic on lap 60 and began to weave in and out of lap traffic again. Kevin Harvick moved to second place passing Kyle Busch but could not catch the dominate Keselowski. On lap 82 the races second caution flag would fly for debris. All of the leaders would pit but a couple drivers decided to take two tires including Regan Smith and Elliott Sadler and they led the field on the lap 89 restart. Smith took the lead on the initial restart but on lap 90 Brad Keselowski would pass Smith for the lead and begin to pull away once again.
When the race reached the halfway point on lap 100 Keselowski had led 90 laps and was pulling away from the field. Keselowski would lead until the races’ third caution flag flew when Matt Kenseth crashed coming off of turn two. Kenseth lost control of his #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and slammed the inside wall. Kenseth was done for the night and finished 36th.
Some of the leaders would pit including Kevin Harvick who made several adjustments to his #5 Chevrolet. Harvick would show frustration on his radio to the pit crew as they lost several spots on pit road, resorting in Harvick restarting on lap 107 in the 18th position.
On that restart Keselowski would pull away again and show that he was the car to beat for the night. By lap 131 Keselowski’s lead was over three seconds. Meanwhile Kevin Harvick was slowing working his way through the field and by lap 132 Harvick was up to the seventh position. The cars who didn’t pit on lap 102 began to come down for pit stops on lap 142. On lap 150 leader Brad Keselowski would come down to pit for four tires and fuel. On his way back to the racetrack Keselowski would speed causing him to do a pass through penalty under green.
Debris in turn three would bring out the races’ fourth caution flag on lap 156. The top seven drivers of the field would pit leaving a bunch of drivers who were caught a lap down under caution to take the wave around to get back on the lead lap, including Brad Keselowski who would restart in the 16th position.
Kyle Busch led the field on the restart on lap 162 and pulled away. Busch led until the races’ fifth caution flag of the night flew when points leader Regan Smith crashed after contact with Ryan Reed. Smith would continue but had significant damage. He finished 28th.
The race would restart on lap 174 and Kyle Busch would lead the field into turn one. However, Kevin Harvick passed Busch for the lead in turn three but then a caution flew right away. On lap 175 Dakoda Armstrong would crash bringing out the caution flag for the sixth time. Armstrong had damage but would continue. He finished 20th.
The race would restart with Harvick and Busch on the front row on lap 180. After a great battle between the two drivers Busch would prevail on lap 184. Meanwhile Brad Keselowski was working his way up through the field. By lap 183 Keselowski was in the fourth position and coming on strong.
On lap 192 the races’ seventh and final caution flag would fly when Trevor Bayne hit the wall after contact with Chase Elliott. Elliott slid up the track in turn two as he was passing Bayne, causing Bayne to slide and hit the wall. Bayne had some damage to the right side of his car but would continue. He finished 15th.
On the final restart of the night on lap 196 Kyle Busch led the field to the green but Kevin Harvick got a great restart. Harvick would grab the lead from Busch and lead the final five laps to win his 42nd career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory.
Other notables in the field included Dylan Kwasniewski in 11th, Chase Elliott in 12th, Landon Cassill in 13th, James Buescher in 14th, Corey LaJoie 16th, Ryan Reed 17th, and Chris Buescher in 18th. Blake Koch was the last lead lap car in 19th.
Elliott Sadler took the points lead after the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway as he leads by four points over Chase Elliott, who is in second. Regan Smith is eight points back in third after entering with the points lead. Ty Dillon is in fourth 29 points behind. Fifth in the standings is Brian Scott who is 49 points back. Sixth in the points is Trevor Bayne with Brendan Gaughan in seventh. Eighth in the standings is James Buescher with Chris Buescher ninth and Landon Cassill in tenth.
The next race on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule is the Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night July 4th.
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