NASCAR Cup Richmond: Harvick holds off Bell for second straight win
After going 65 races without a win, Kevin Harvick scored his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series victory to bolt himself into 2022 title contention.
Harvick cycled back into the lead after a late-race round of green-flag pitstops, but spent the final four laps furiously working to hold off Christopher Bell, who was on 12-lap fresher tyres.
Bell got close but Harvick couldn’t find a way through, which meant the Stewart-Haas driver edged to the win by 0.441 seconds at the chequered flag at Richmond, becoming the first driver to win consecutive races this season following his overdue triumph at Michigan last time out.
The Richmond win was also the 60th of his career and the 46-year-old is now just one of 10 drivers who have won at least 60 Cup races in their career.
“Like I said last week, the cars have been running good week-in and week-out and you see a lot better understanding of what’s going on with how we adjusted on the car through the first run and we’re able to get our car handling a lot better,” Harvick said. “I think as it got dark, the race track really came to our [car].”
Asked about the approach of Bell in the final laps, Harvick said: “I knew he was coming, but I forgot to shift down the front straightaway the last time. I was not paying attention and he got closer than he should have.
“I made a mistake there a couple laps doing the same thing. I wasn’t shifting on the back and I was shifting in the front. There was a lot going on, and made a couple mistakes, let him get too close.”
Race winner Kevin Harvick, Stewart Haas Racing, Ford Mustang
Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
With two straight wins coming just before the start of the playoffs, Harvick was asked about the importance of momentum going into the title-deciding rounds.
“We’re just going to keep doing the things that we’re doing,” he said. “I think we just have to keep an open mind about things and keep progressing and keep understanding the car, understanding what we could have done better today, understanding what we could have done better in qualifying yesterday and do the same thing over and over.”
Richmond polesitter Kyle Larson opted not to pit under a late caution period triggered by a spin by Bell on lap 251, which briefly put him in the lead, before being cycled back to 14th at the finish.
NASCAR Cup Richmond - Race Results
|7||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||400||3:03'40.240||13.205||1.053||31|
|12||2||Austin Cindric||Ford||399||3:03'28.874||1 Lap||1 Lap||25|
|13||23||Bubba Wallace||Toyota||399||3:03'30.278||1 Lap||1.404||24|
|14||5||Kyle Larson||Chevrolet||399||3:03'32.313||1 Lap||2.035||11||40|
|15||6||Brad Keselowski||Ford||399||3:03'39.387||1 Lap||7.074||29|
|16||3||Austin Dillon||Chevrolet||399||3:03'46.645||1 Lap||7.258||21|
|17||42||Ty Dillon||Chevrolet||398||3:03'28.045||2 Laps||1 Lap||20|
|18||1||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet||398||3:03'32.930||2 Laps||4.885||80||29|
|19||99||Daniel Suarez||Chevrolet||398||3:03'35.508||2 Laps||2.578||18|
|20||48||Alex Bowman||Chevrolet||398||3:03'43.951||2 Laps||8.443||20|
|21||31||Justin Haley||Chevrolet||398||3:03'44.621||2 Laps||0.670||16|
|22||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Chevrolet||398||3:03'44.723||2 Laps||0.102||6||15|
|23||14||Chase Briscoe||Ford||397||3:03'34.182||3 Laps||1 Lap||16|
|24||16||Noah Gragson||Chevrolet||397||3:03'34.542||3 Laps||0.360|
|25||21||Harrison Burton||Ford||397||3:03'36.346||3 Laps||1.804||12|
|26||41||Cole Custer||Ford||397||3:03'36.593||3 Laps||0.247||2||13|
|27||38||Todd Gilliland||Ford||397||3:03'41.723||3 Laps||5.130||10|
|28||7||Corey Lajoie||Chevrolet||397||3:03'42.698||3 Laps||0.975||9|
|29||34||Michael McDowell||Ford||395||3:03'28.705||5 Laps||2 Laps||8|
|30||77||Landon Cassill||Chevrolet||395||3:03'41.296||5 Laps||12.591|
|31||8||Tyler Reddick||Chevrolet||394||3:03'38.399||6 Laps||1 Lap||6|
|32||15||J.J. Yeley||Ford||393||3:03'43.154||7 Laps||1 Lap|
|33||78||B.J. McLeod||Ford||392||3:03'44.159||8 Laps||1 Lap|
|34||51||Cody Ware||Ford||391||3:03'47.230||9 Laps||1 Lap||3|
|35||43||Erik Jones||Chevrolet||240||1:52'16.042||160 Laps||151 Laps||Accident||2|
|36||45||Ty Gibbs||Toyota||180||1:21'54.975||220 Laps||60 Laps||Engine|
Raikkonen tests Trackhouse NASCAR Next Gen car at VIR ahead of Cup debut
Suarez: Raikkonen “doesn't know how aggressive” NASCAR rivals will be
Arrow McLaren SP is expected to reveal its IndyCar management structure within the next seven days, and is also targeting Kyle Busch for a fourth car entry for the Indianapolis 500.
Chris Buescher provided a third consecutive playoff surprise, holding off Chase Elliott to win Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Richard Childress Racing clearly wasn’t the first choice for Kyle Busch for the 2023 NASCAR Cup campaign but perhaps, all things considered, it may be the best one.
Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch has announced that he will join Richard Childress Racing and the Chevrolet camp next season, leaving Joe Gibbs Racing after 15 years together.