Harvick wins wild Daytona finish

Kevin Harvick claimed his second win of the season in a wild NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at Daytona International Speedway

Harvick wins wild Daytona finish

The current points leader timed his winning move to perfection in the closing laps of the race, to take another victory at a restrictor-plate track. He was one of a few able to avoid the carnage that unfolded on lap 149, only 11 from the end, when Richard Childress Racing's Jeff Burton made contact with Penske's Kurt Busch while running close to the front.

The ensuing 'big one' left almost 20 cars wrecked, including reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, as many got caught in the chain reaction at Turn 3. The incident narrowed the battle for victory to a few cars, including the three RCR Chevrolets, which worked together at the front of the field once the race resumed only eight laps from the scheduled distance.

Jeff Gordon tried to snatch the win in the end but first Clint Bowyer and then his team-mate Harvick passed him as the laps faded. A late caution came out with two laps left, forcing a green-white-chequered finish where Bowyer led before Harvick took the lead right after the green flag waved, then held off Richard Petty Motorsports' Kasey Kahne to the finish line.

Harvick's victory hands him a second 10-point bonus towards his Chase seeding, as he continues to makes strides in his aim to bring Johnson's Sprint Cup domination to an end.

"Same old Daytona, cars moving around and bouncing around, and handling came into play, and you saw a lot of passing and shuffling, and then there at the end we had the big wreck and we were fortunate to be in front of it," said Harvick, who got a perfect score as he led the most laps as well.

"And really coming to the white [flag] I thought it was going to be [Bowyer] first and us second, and then the caution came out and we could see the white flag. I was content about that.

"I knew those guys needed a good day, and I knew you never know what's going to happen on the last lap with people pushing and shoving from the back. But on the last restart, once [Gordon] pulled out and slowed those outside two lines down, that was pretty much the end of it."

Kahne, who had started the race in his back-up machine after damaging his primary one in practice, made a great charge in the closing laps after being involved in two separate incidents during the race. Gordon was third in the end, moving up to second in the points, while Dale Earnhardt Jr, who had a late brush with the wall, was fourth and climbed two spots in the standings to break inside the top 12.

Burton rounded out the top five, which Roush Fenway's Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch followed in the order despite crashing out of the final turn.

Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch held the lead for 23 laps, before contact with Juan Pablo Montoya put him against the wall. The Colombian also led the race and was getting lapped by Busch, who had yet to stop in the pits, when the incident happened. Montoya was one of those involved in the biggest accident of the day, as was veteran Mark Martin, whose car caught fire in the pits after the crash.

The race finished in the early hours of Sunday, following more than an hour of delay at the start due to rain.

Pos Driver Car Laps 1. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 166 2. Kasey Kahne Ford 166 3. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 166 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 166 5. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 166 6. Carl Edwards Ford 166 7. Kurt Busch Dodge 166 8. Reed Sorenson Toyota 166 9. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 166 10. Scott Speed Toyota 166 11. David Reutimann Toyota 166 12. Robby Gordon Toyota 166 13. Steve Park Toyota 166 14. Kevin Conway Ford 166 15. Matt Kenseth Ford 166 16. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 166 17. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 166 18. Paul Menard Ford 165 19. JJ Yeley Dodge 164 20. Greg Biffle Ford 163 21. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 159 22. Elliott Sadler Ford 159 23. Robert Richardson Jr Ford 159 24. Denny Hamlin Toyota 158 25. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 158 26. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 148 27. Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 148 28. Mark Martin Chevrolet 148 29. Joey Logano Toyota 148 30. Brad Keselowski Dodge 147 31. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 147 32. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 147 33. Regan Smith Chevrolet 147 34. Travis Kvapil Ford 145 35. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 141 36. AJ Allmendinger Ford 136 37. David Stremme Ford 135 38. David Ragan Ford 116 39. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 116 40. Kyle Busch Toyota 103 41. Joe Nemechek Toyota 38 42. Max Papis Toyota 6 43. Dave Blaney Toyota 4 
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