Harvick wins in wild Montreal finish
|By Diego Mejia||Sunday, August 5th 2007, 00:56 GMT|
In one of the wildest finishes in NASCAR's recent history, Kevin Harvick picked up the pieces from a late race scrap between Marcos Ambrose and Robby Gordon to take victory in the Busch Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal, Canada.
Harvick officially led the last two laps of the race to take his fourth Busch win of the season and the first on a road course, after NASCAR stopped scoring Robby Gordon's car, which was running up front.
"I saw the 55 car (Gordon) back there, and I said 'Man, this is gonna be alright'," Harvick said. "The 55 and the 59 (Ambrose) were gonna be racing hard and they wound up messing with each other and we wound up being in the right spot to win the race. We did what we had to do, and everything worked out in the end."
Gordon did not obey instructions from officials to move back in the field for the last restart and then wrecked Ambrose out of the lead into turn two, retaliating for a previous clash they had a few laps before.
On the previous restart with four laps remaining, Ambrose was leading and got a tap from Gordon accelerating out of turn 2. The move enabled the American to pull alongside the Australian and then pass him on the inside grass under braking for the following chicane.
Ambrose then paid back Gordon's favor out of turn two and spun him out of the chicane as he got a better exit, just as NASCAR displayed caution flags for a pile up in turn two, ignited by Scott Pruett closing the door on Kevin Harvick.
While everyone slowed down in single file behind the safety car, Gordon charged through the field until getting to Ambrose. He tapped him hard on the rear bumper once more and then pulled alongside him, gesturing to the Australian.
Looking out of control, he almost wrecked Ambrose's car going into turn one - still behind the safety car – and then stayed beside him for nearly a full lap, failing to give up the lead which he believed was his.
Once the race was over, he failed to accept that he had not won the race and not happy enough with his antics, he started doing celebratory burnouts on the main straight and was then stopped by NASCAR officials on his way to Victory Lane.
"[NASCAR] said I had to go to the back," Gordon said. "But I've seen guys spin after a caution because a guy didn't stop behind them and I had to go back to the position where I was. That's a new one for me. Just want to thank everybody, we won this race."
Needless to say, a heavy penalty is expected for Gordon and his team. He was summoned by officials in the NASCAR trailer immediately following the race.
The Gordon issue somehow tarnished what was an exciting finish that kept more than 60,000 fans on their feet for the last two laps.
Harvick was closely challenged by local favorite Patrick Carpentier, who couldn't take advantage of a mistake made by the RCR driver in the penultimate lap. He finished a close second ahead of another road course specialist, Italian Max Papis.
"It was demolition derby," said Carpentier. "The guys had a big wreck in turn one and I found a hole to go through and I was lucky, I got hit from behind but the car was still good so we gained like six, seven spots.
"Then I was trying to get the leader but he was holding his line, I was getting bumped from behind, I was bumping him and it was great."
Before the last two cautions, most of the leaders were all hoping to make it to the end, as most of them were marginal on their fuel. However, when Boris Said's engine gave up, the race changed from a fuel mileage one into an out-and-out fight for victory.
Points leader Carl Edwards didn't enjoy a good afternoon with mechanical problems forcing him to take a lengthy stop in the garage. He rejoined the race later but could only finish 30th, having his lead marginally cut by David Reutimann who crossed the line in ninth place.
Pos Driver Car Laps 1. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 75 2. Patrick Carpentier Dodge 75 3. Max Papis Chevrolet 75 4. Ron Fellows Chevrolet 75 5. Stephen Leicht Ford 75 6. Kyle Krisiloff Ford 75 7. Marcos Ambrose Ford 75 8. Brad Coleman Chevrolet 75 9. David Reutimann Toyota 75 10. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 75 11. Aric Almirola Chevrolet 75 12. Niclas Jonsson Chevrolet 75 13. Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 75 14. Scott Pruett Dodge 75 15. Andy Pilgrim Chevrolet 74 16. Michel Jourdain Jr Ford 74 17. Stanton Barrett Chevrolet 74 18. Robby Gordon Ford 73 19. David Ragan Ford 73 20. Greg Biffle Ford 73 21. Todd Kluever Ford 73 22. Brent Sherman Chevrolet 73 23. John Graham Toyota 72 24. Bobby Hamilton Jr Ford 72 25. Richard Johns Ford 72 26. Jason Leffler Toyota 71 27. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 70 28. Boris Said Dodge 66 29. Andy Lally Ford 65 30. Carl Edwards Ford 65 31. Jorge Goeters Ford 57 32. Steve Wallace Dodge 34 33. Mike Mackenzie Chevrolet 25 34. Michael Valiante Dodge 24 35. Trevor Boys Chevrolet 24 36. Alex Garcia Chevrolet 18 37. D.J. Kennington Dodge 14 38. Morgan Shepherd Dodge 7 39. Scott Gaylord Ford 5 40. Mark Green Dodge 4 41. Joe Fox Chevrolet 3 42. Jerick Johnson Chevrolet 3 43. J R Fitzpatrick Unknown 0