Kevin Harvick earns second win of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway

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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.

MORE: Results and statistics from Bristol

MORE: Kevin Harvick retakes points lead at Bristol

“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.

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Coca-Cola 600 resumes after rain delay

Coca-Cola 600
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The Coca-Cola 600 is back under way following a rain delay.

The caution was issued on Lap 49 for rain and the field was brought to pit road. The red flag was issued at 7:07 p.m. ET and lifted at 8:16 p.m. ET.

The top five at the time of the stoppage was Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick and Joey Logano.

Check back for updates.

 

Denny Hamlin team faces potential penalty after ballast falls off car

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Denny Hamlin was involved in an incident even before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 got underway that could result in a hefty penalty.

A chunk of tungsten ballast — which teams use to bring Cup cars up to minimum weight standards — fell off Hamlin’s car on a parade lap.

The incident puts Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart and several others on the team in violation of the NASCAR rule book, which means a hefty penalty could be in the offing.

According to the NASCAR rule book, the penalty is 12.5.2.7.4.d: Minimum safety penalty options — “Loss or separation of added ballast from the vehicle will result in a four Race suspension of the crew chief, car chief, and head engineer. If NASCAR cannot identify which series or vehicle the lost ballast originated from, all vehicles entered for that Event from and associated with the team organization identified on the lost ballast may receive the suspensions.”

If NASCAR implements the potential penalty, Gabehart and others could miss the following four races: May 27 at Charlotte, May 31 at Bristol, June 7 at Atlanta and June 10 at Martinsville.

Several of those tracks are good for Hamlin, including winning the Bristol summer night race last year, as well as was fourth at the Martinsville playoff race last fall and 11th at Atlanta.

NASCAR ordered Hamlin back to pit road where the No. 11 crew added a new chunk of ballast to Hamlin’s car. He returned to the race eight laps down.

Here’s what a fabricator from rival team Stewart-Haas Racing tweeted about the incident:

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Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

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Chevrolet drivers swept the top three rows for tonight’s Coca-Cola 600, led by Kurt Busch‘s pole-winning lap of 181.269 mph.

Jimmie Johnson was next with a lap of 181.214 mph. He was followed by Chase Elliott (181.002 mph), Matt Kenseth (180.923), rookie Tyler Reddick (180.905) and Austin Dillon (180.741).

Ford driver Joey Logano, who starts seventh after a lap of 180.451 mph, was the top qualifier not driving a Chevrolet.

TO THE REAR: Matt DiBenedetto (backup car), Brad Keselowski (unapproved adjustment), Aric Almirola (unapproved adjustment), JJ Yeley (unapproved adjustment) and Timmy Hill (unapproved adjustment)

Click here for Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Kurt Busch on pole for Coca-Cola 600

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Kurt Busch will lead the field to the green flag for tonight’s Coca-Cola 600 after claiming the pole Sunday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It is Busch’s 28th career pole and first at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch is joined on the front row by Jimmie Johnson. Chase Elliott qualified third and is followed by Matt Kenseth and rookie Tyler Reddick. Austin Dillon was sixth, as Chevrolet drivers took the top six spots.

Click here for qualifying results

Aric Almirola spun coming to take the green flag to begin his qualifying lap. He grazed the wall with his rear bumper.

Matt DiBenedetto slapped the wall off Turn 4 during his qualifying lap and will go to a backup car and start at the rear of the field.