Kevin Harvick took control in the second half of the Bass Pro Shops / NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday night and drove to his second win of the season.
Kyle Busch dominated the race by leading a race-high 256 laps but finished 39th after crashing on Lap 358, seven laps after being passed for the lead by Harvick. Upon Busch’s exit, Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet remained a constant at the front, leading for a total 128 of 500 laps.
Harvick took the lead for the final time on Lap 430, passing Denny Hamlin before the race was red-flagged at Lap 434 for rain. The red flag lasted six minutes, 57 seconds before the race resumed and stayed green to the checkered flag.
The win was Harvick’s second of the season, his first since March at Phoenix International Raceway, and the 33rd of his career. It was also his second win at Bristol, the first coming in the spring of 2005.
“We should have won a lot of races this year, and we just had things not go our way, made mistakes or whatever the case may be, but to get back in victory lane here at Bristol feels really good,” Harvick told NBC Sports on CNBC in victory lane. “We’ve had some good cars here over the last few years and to have Busch Beer on the car – we’ve had some crap luck with these guys on the car. Just really happy for Busch and Jimmy John’s and really proud of these guys on the 4 team.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, driving in honor of his late friend, Bryan Clauson. The No. 17 Fastenal Ford resembled the colors Clauson ran in 2008 when he was an Xfinity Series driver at Chip Ganassi Racing. It was Stenhouse’s best finish of the season.
Denny Hamlin finished third, Austin Dillon finished fourth, and Chris Buescher rounded out the top five. With his finish, Buescher propelled himself inside the top 30 in points, which makes him eligible for the Chase.
HOW HARVICK WON: Harvick led the final 71 laps after taking the lead from Denny Hamlin on Lap 430.
WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD DAY: Chris Buescher steadily improved throughout the day and finished fifth, which moved him into the top 30 in points. … Jeff Gordon put in his best performance with the No. 88 team and finished 11th. … Austin Dillon earned his fourth top-five finish of the season.
WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Tony Stewart spent time behind the wall with a right-rear wheel hub failure and finished 30th in his final Bristol start. … Kurt Busch got loose from the lead and crashed with Brad Keselowski, finishing 38th. … Kyle Busch led a race-high 256 laps but was hit by Justin Allgaier when he spun on Lap 358 and finished 39th.
NOTABLE: In his 135th career start, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, which is his fourth top-six finish at Bristol in eight races. It was also a season-best finish and his fifth top 10 of the year.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The person that’s really the biggest moron is the spotter of the 46 and the driver of the 46 (Justin Allgaier). I’ve been wrecking for half a lap, and they just come on and clean us out. I don’t know. It’s a frustrating day. Let’s go home.” – Kyle Busch
WHAT’S NEXT: The Sprint Cup Series returns to Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 28 with the Pure Michigan 400 on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET.