Kevin Harvick earns first Atlanta Cup win since 2001

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Kevin Harvick torched the field to win Sunday’s Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his second Cup win at the track.

Harvick, who also won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, claimed his first Cup win at the track in 2001 when he made his third Cup start ever. He led a race-high 181 laps.

After the checkered flag, Harvick held three fingers up in the air as a tribute to Dale Earnhardt Sr., who he replaced following Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver beat Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

“I’m just so proud of everyone on our team,” Harvick told Fox Sports. “That was the first win of my career (in 2001) and to be able to do that and pay tribute to Dale, that was pretty cool. I’ve been waiting a long time to do that. We’ve had so many days where we could do that here.”

Harvick has led the most laps inthe last five Atlanta races.

“It was great getting into this race car and knowing that everybody knew that they had to beat our car,” Harvick said.

Harvick led the final 25 laps following the final caution with 27 laps to go.

The No. 4 Ford left the field behind on the final restart with 21 to go.

Harvick earned the win after the threat of rain loomed north of the track all afternoon once it started. Initially scheduled to start at 1:06 p.m. ET, it did not begin until 3:32 p.m. ET once the track was dry following a morning full of rain.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brad Keselowski

MORE: Race results

MORE: Joey Logano leads point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Stewart-Haas Racing finished with three of its cars in the top 10, with Kurt Busch finishing eighth. Aric Almirola was in the top 10 for much of the first half of the race, but finished 13th … Martin Truex Jr. finished fifth after having to start from the rear. He did not get to make a qualifying attempt on Friday due to not getting through inspection. As a result, his car chief was ejected from the event. … Denny Hamlin is the only driver with two top-five finishes to begin the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Chevrolet teams. Only three finished in the top 15 with Kyle Larson (ninth), Chase Elliott (10th) and Austin Dillon (14th) … Ryan Newman led the first 17 laps of the race, but on Lap 80 his car got into the wall after his right-front tire gave out. He finished 22nd … Jimmie Jonson spun on his own exiting Turn 2 on Lap 159, causing damage to his right front fender. He finished 27th and has now gone 25 races without a win, the longest streak of his career … Trevor Bayne lost his engine with 28 laps to go. He finished 35th … Bayne’s engine emitted so much smoke, Darrell Wallace Jr. ran into the back of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Wallace finished 32nd.

NOTABLE: Kevin Harvick’s win is his 38th in Cup and his 99th overall in all three of NASCAR’s national series …  The victory is Harvick’s 12th win on a 1.5-mile track, second most among active drivers … Chase Elliott has never finished outside the top 10 in any of his NASCAR national series starts at Atlanta … David Ragan finished 23rd in his 400th Cup start.

POST-RACE INSPECTION:Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Ford had one loose lug nut following the race. That penalty for that is a fine.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “We got a late-race restart that we drove off and won the race with, so there are so many demons that seem to haunt us here for a long time, but the coolest part was being able to try to replicate that first win celebration.” – Kevin Harvick

WHAT’S NEXT: Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on March 4 on Fox.

 

Kyle Larson scores second Ohio Sprint Speedweek win in three nights

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Kyle Larson scored his second win in the opening three nights of the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Ohio Sprint Speedweek. Larson won at Wayne County Speedway on Monday. Andrew Palker was second.

The victory is Larson’s eighth in the All Star Circuit of Champions.

Xfinity driver Christopher Bell was fifth Monday. Kasey Kahne placed 17th. Tony Stewart finished 24th in the 26-car field.

Larson won at Eldora Speedway on Saturday night.

Ohio Speedweek continues Tuesday at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio.

 

NASCAR America: Sport needs more races like Iowa Speedway

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With the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series taking Father’s Day weekend off, the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series took center stage at Iowa Speedway and put on a pair of shows that had drivers and NASCAR America analysts asking for more.

Late-race battles for the lead with Noah Gragson‘s unsuccessful last-lap pass on Brett Moffitt and Christopher Bell’s near miss at closing the distance on Justin Allgaier is something that has been missing from the Cup series for much of the season, and the action had a lot to do with the configuration of the speedway.

“That’s why this racetrack has become so popular,” Parker Kligerman said on Monday’s edition of NASCAR America. “Because it’s allowing this multi-groove racing like we’ve seen. And it’s got everyone discussing – kind of like Brad Keselowski was saying – why don’t we bring the Cup cars there? It would be awesome.”

Iowa Speedway was built with inspiration from Richmond Raceway and both tracks have characteristics of a short track and a speedway. It is something that Jeff Burton believes the sports needs to embrace.

“There is no doubt that this style of racetrack is what we need more of,” Burton said. “The sport needs more of it. And all this effort we’ve been talking about with the All-Star package. All that is an effort to try and create races like we saw on Saturday and on Sunday.”

For more, watch the video above.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Iowa recap, Scan All featuring Parker Kligerman

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and recaps the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races at Iowa Speedway.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Parker Kligerman in Stamford, Connecticut. Jeff Burton joins them from Burton’s Garage.

 On today’s show:

  • The Xfinity & Camping World Truck Series took the spotlight this weekend at Iowa Speedway. We’ll have highlights from both races and also dive into why some of the sport’s biggest names are pushing for Iowa to be on the Cup Series schedule.
  • Dale Jarrett and his father, Ned Jarrett, are champion drivers and NASCAR Hall of Famers. But one member of the family – Dale’s son, Zach Jarrett – didn’t follow in their footsteps. As we come off Father’s Day, we’ll introduce you to Zach and his passion for another great sport.
  • Scan All is usually a Tuesday tradition, but today, we’re changing it up a bit. Listen in as our colleague, Parker Kligerman, hits the track in Scan All Parker!
If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Kyle Larson wants to compete in World of Outlaws full-time ‘before I’m 40’

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Late last year Kyle Larson said his main career goal was to compete full-time in the World of Outlaws and that “NASCAR’s just the step to get there.”

Now the 25-year-old Cup driver has told the Internet that he hopes to compete full-time in World of Outlaws “Before I’m 40.”

In a lengthy Q&A session, Larson answered a fan’s question about the topic.

It was on the official World of Outlaws podcast in December where Larson expressed his desire to eventually transition to World of Outlaws.

“NASCAR is where I wanted to make it, but I would have been perfectly fine if I didn’t make it either,” Larson said. “I’d probably be on the Outlaw (sprint car) tour probably right now, racing and loving life … I would say racing on the World of Outlaws tour full-time is my main goal.”

A lot can change between now and 2033 – which would put Larson at 18 full-time Cup seasons after 2032 – so better stock up on those Larson race win diecasts while you can over the next 15 or so years.

Here’s other tidbits from Larson’s Q&A session:

Larson declared his stance on last year’s peaceful protests by NFL players regarding police brutality and unequal treatment of African-Americans that took place during the National Anthem.

Last September, President Donald Trump praised NASCAR in general and its “supporters and fans,” saying “They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag!”

That was after team owner Richard Childress and Richard Petty said they would fire any employees who kneeled during the anthem in protest.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. later tweeted in support of the protests and Jimmie Johnson also said he supported peaceful protests.

Larson’s response was noted by other NASCAR drivers.

If you’ve noticed Larson isn’t running against the wall as much this season, there’s a reason.

Larson believes the Cup Series needs more short tracks to garner more excitement and that the cars are not the problem.

Larson also expressed a desire for there to be mid-week races on the schedule.

Larson is not planning on competing in the Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway, which he won in 2016.

Larson thinks a Truck race at Knoxville Raceway, the dirt track that hosts the Knoxville Nationals, would be worthwhile.

Larson also announced where he’ll be competing in some sprint races later this year.