Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Sports

Kevin Harvick wins soggy Sprint Cup race at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kevin Harvick wasn't worried about his poor qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway. In fact, starting 24th gave Harvick exactly what he wanted to win.

"It kind of motivates me," Harvick said Sunday. "I think it's exciting. I like to pass cars."

Harvick made the biggest pass with 70 laps to go Sunday, sweeping by Denny Hamlin and holding on to take the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the 0.533-mile track.

The victory was Harvick's second of the season and second at Bristol — his first in 11 years. It moved him atop the points standings and gave his team a jolt with three races left until the Chase for the Championship.

Harvick had 13 top-10 finishes in the 18 races since winning at Phoenix in March.

"It's been one of those deals where things have just not gone exactly right," said Harvick, who led 128 laps. "But to have the win now and just try to get that momentum before we get into the Chase and get things rolling is really what we needed."

Fittingly for a race halted because of Saturday night storms, Harvick sat out one last rain delay near the end.

Ricky Stenhouse was second, followed by Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Chris Buescher.

The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race — which became a day race, then was delayed so long Sunday that it became a night race again by the end — saw Kyle Busch lead 256 laps before being knocked out of the race in a crash.

Not long after, elder brother Kurt Busch spun while running near the front, starting a wreck that also collected Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. Kurt Busch had finished on the lead lap of every race this season, the longest streak ever to start a season, according to NBC.

There was consolation for the elder Busch brother — he clinched a spot in the Chase for the Championship along with Joey Logano and Martin Truex; Harvick's win ensured that there won't be more than 15 winners in the 26-race regular season, so all drivers with one win are in the 16-car Chase assuming they finish in the top 30 in points. Buescher, who won last month at Pocono, rose to 30th.

Kyle Busch was angered by his equipment failure and said the race shop "was going to hear about it Tuesday." He also blasted Justin Allgaier and his spotter, saying they should've seen Busch's spin and moved clear instead of hitting him.

Allgaier, driving in relief of Michael Annett, apologized to Busch.

NHRA: Brittany Force earned her third Top Fuel victory this season at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn. She beat defending season champion Antron Brown with a 4.169-second pass at 180.21 mph. Del Worsham won in Funny Car, Drew Skillman in Pro Stock and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

IndyCar: Rain postponed the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono. It was rescheduled for noon today (NBCSN).

East Bay Raceway: AJ Maddox won the 25-lap Sprint feature, the Bob & Marge Long Memorial, Saturday in Gibsonton.

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