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

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.”

Chris Buescher claimed his best result since the Sonoma round back in mid-June with third place ahead of Denny Hamlin in fourth, as overall standings leader Chase Elliott completed the top five.

Fellow title contenders Joey Logano, who led for 222 laps, and Martin Truex Jr followed close behind, with Aric Almirola in eighth as Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney completed the top 10.

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

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led Retirement Points Bonus
1 4 United StatesKevin Harvick Ford 400 3:03'27.035     55   47  
2 20 United StatesChristopher Bell Toyota 400 3:03'27.476 0.441 0.441     35  
3 17 United StatesChris Buescher Ford 400 3:03'29.527 2.492 2.051     38  
4 11 United StatesDenny Hamlin Toyota 400 3:03'30.874 3.839 1.347 22   50  
5 9 United StatesChase Elliott Chevrolet 400 3:03'33.707 6.672 2.833 1   35  
6 22 United StatesJoey Logano Ford 400 3:03'39.187 12.152 5.480 222   45  
7 19 United StatesMartin Truex Jr. Toyota 400 3:03'40.240 13.205 1.053     31  
8 10 United StatesAric Almirola Ford 400 3:03'40.883 13.848 0.643     34  
9 18 United StatesKyle Busch Toyota 400 3:03'43.013 15.978 2.130     29  
10 12 United StatesRyan Blaney Ford 400 3:03'45.751 18.716 2.738 1   38  
11 24 United StatesWilliam Byron Chevrolet 400 3:03'48.585 21.550 2.834     32  
12 2 United StatesAustin Cindric Ford 399 3:03'28.874 1 Lap 1 Lap     25  
13 23 United StatesBubba Wallace Toyota 399 3:03'30.278 1 Lap 1.404     24  
14 5 United StatesKyle Larson Chevrolet 399 3:03'32.313 1 Lap 2.035 11   40  
15 6 United StatesBrad Keselowski Ford 399 3:03'39.387 1 Lap 7.074     29  
16 3 United StatesAustin Dillon Chevrolet 399 3:03'46.645 1 Lap 7.258     21  
17 42 United StatesTy Dillon Chevrolet 398 3:03'28.045 2 Laps 1 Lap     20  
18 1 United StatesRoss Chastain Chevrolet 398 3:03'32.930 2 Laps 4.885 80   29  
19 99 MexicoDaniel Suarez Chevrolet 398 3:03'35.508 2 Laps 2.578     18  
20 48 United StatesAlex Bowman Chevrolet 398 3:03'43.951 2 Laps 8.443     20  
21 31 United StatesJustin Haley Chevrolet 398 3:03'44.621 2 Laps 0.670     16  
22 47 United StatesRicky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 398 3:03'44.723 2 Laps 0.102 6   15  
23 14 United StatesChase Briscoe Ford 397 3:03'34.182 3 Laps 1 Lap     16  
24 16 United StatesNoah Gragson Chevrolet 397 3:03'34.542 3 Laps 0.360        
25 21 United StatesHarrison Burton Ford 397 3:03'36.346 3 Laps 1.804     12  
26 41 United StatesCole Custer Ford 397 3:03'36.593 3 Laps 0.247 2   13  
27 38 United StatesTodd Gilliland Ford 397 3:03'41.723 3 Laps 5.130     10  
28 7 United StatesCorey Lajoie Chevrolet 397 3:03'42.698 3 Laps 0.975     9  
29 34 United StatesMichael McDowell Ford 395 3:03'28.705 5 Laps 2 Laps     8  
30 77 United StatesLandon Cassill Chevrolet 395 3:03'41.296 5 Laps 12.591        
31 8 United StatesTyler Reddick Chevrolet 394 3:03'38.399 6 Laps 1 Lap     6  
32 15 United StatesJ.J. Yeley Ford 393 3:03'43.154 7 Laps 1 Lap        
33 78 United StatesB.J. McLeod Ford 392 3:03'44.159 8 Laps 1 Lap        
34 51 United StatesCody Ware Ford 391 3:03'47.230 9 Laps 1 Lap     3  
35 43 United StatesErik 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  

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