It was a dominant night on Saturday for Kevin Harvick as he led the final 159 laps of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He piloted the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to his third victory of the 2014 season and the Great Clips 300 victory was the 43rd of his Nationwide Series career.
The only driver able to keep semi pace with Harvick was Joey Logano but he could not catch Harvick down the stretch.
"This thing was bad fast from the drop of the green flag," Harvick said in victory lane. "It's just one of those racetracks where I like the challenge of everything you get to do here."
It was the third Nationwide Series win for Harvick at the 1.54 mile Atlanta track.
His JR Motorsports teammate and Nationwide Series points leader Chase Elliott earned his first career pole earlier in the day on Saturday while Harvick started back in eighth. Elliott would lead the first 36 laps but then Harvick took the lead on lap 37 of 195 and never looked back.
The first round of green flag pit stops came to a close with Harvick pitting on lap 52 and maintaining the lead. Joey Logano had moved up to second past Elliott on the round of stops. The first caution flew on lap 73 for debris and everyone pitted again. Off pit road setting up the order for the lap 78 restart was Harvick, Logano, Elliott, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Larson.
By lap 100 the running order in the top five was Harvick, Logano, Elliott, Larson, and Ty Dillon. Elliott moved into second on lap 113 but Logano was able to take the position back on lap 114 before Elliott grabbed it away again on lap 115.
The second caution came out soon after that battle on lap 121 for debris and the teams pitted again. No positions changed inside the top ten on the stops but before the race could go back green light sprinkles began to fall at the track. The rain never came down hard enough to force a red flag and the cars ran around under yellow until finally restarting on lap 134. Logano was able to get second from Elliott on that initial lap but Harvick maintained the lead.
Kenseth had dropped to 11th and the last lead lap car and he pitted under green on lap 169 to start a round of green flag stops. On lap 177 Harvick and Logano pitted with Harvick having a 4.3 second lead. Logano's crew had a great stop and Harvick's lead in the race was cut to 3.1 seconds. Elliott pitted on the same lap as Harvick and Logano but overshot his pit box and had to back up. He entered third but came off sixth because of the mistake.
Logano would close the gap on Harvick in the final laps but Harvick still won by a comfortable margin of 0.567 seconds with Logano finishing second. The race only took 2 hours 8 minutes and 37 seconds to complete.
Kyle Larson took third, Kyle Busch fourth, Chase Elliott fifth, Regan Smith sixth, Brian Scott seventh, David Ragan eighth, and Ty Dillon was the last lead lap car in ninth. Elliott Sadler rounded out the top 10. Matt Kenseth was 11th, Trevor Bayne 12th, Chris Buescher 13th, Brendan Gaughan 14th, Landon Cassill 15th, Mike Bliss 16th, JJ Yeley 17th, Ryan Reed 18th, James Buescher 19th, Ryan Sieg 20th, and Dylan Kwasniewski 21st in the 40-car field.
After 24 races Chase Elliott has a 15 point lead over Regan Smith in the championship point standings. Ty Dillon is 35 back in third, Elliott Sadler is 48 back in fourth, and Brian Scott is 54 back in fifth. Trevor Bayne is sixth, Chris Buescher seventh, Brendan Gaughan eighth, Ryan Reed ninth, and James Buescher tenth.
The next race up is the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, September 5th.
Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at TicketScore.com, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Brian Scott, Chase Elliott, Elliott Sadler, Joey Logano, JR Motorsports, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, matt kenseth, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Nationwide Series, Regan Smith, Ty Dillon