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Harvick hangs on for Nationwide victory

RICHMOND, Va. — Kevin Harvick took the lead by dodging a caution caused by leader Kurt Busch, then pulled away on a restart with 17 laps to go and won Friday night's Nationwide race at Richmond International Raceway.

Harvick snapped a 30-race winless streak in the series spanning two years. It was his 38th victory in the series, tied with Carl Edwards for third all time, and sixth on the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval.

"It's been a long time coming," Harvick said in Victory Lane. "I know the first 37 seemed a whole lot easier than No. 38."

As he had done for much of the race, Harvick pulled away as if he had an extra gear when the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 went back to green on Lap 234 of 250, leaving championship contender Ricky Stenhouse and Busch to battle for second. Stenhouse won that battle easily.

"Kevin and I had a great battle there for a while. I gave it all I had," said Stenhouse, who won last weekend at Atlanta. "If we would have won two in a row, that would have been cool, but second's a great night."

SPRINT CUP QUALIFYING: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole for tonight's "regular-season" finale at Richmond International Raceway with a lap at 127.023 mph to bump Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon to the second spot.

"I was as surprised as anybody," Earnhardt said of his 11th pole and first since the 2011 Daytona 500.

It came on the day his Nationwide team, JR Motorsports, parted ways with his uncle Tony Eury Sr., who had been competition director.

Kyle Busch, who is battling Gordon for a wild-card spot in the Chase for the Championship, qualified 15th. Tampa's Aric Almirola lines up 18th.

PATRICK PONDERS DOUBLE: Danica Patrick said she still seeks an opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500 next season, if she can get a competitive ride. "I'd like to if it's with the right team," said Patrick, now running in NASCAR full time. Patrick has made seven 500 starts, with a best finish of third in 2009, the highest finish for a woman at Indy.

Harvick hangs on for Nationwide victory 09/08/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 12:10am]

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