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Kevin Harvick Uses Next-to-Last-Lap Pass To Beat Truex

KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway
Sunday, May 13, 2018

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Kevin Harvick wins at Kansas Speedway
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Kevin Harvick, nicknamed NASCAR's "Closer," earned his moniker on Saturday night at Kansas Speedway, passing reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. on the next-to-last lap to add the KC Masterpiece 400 to his collection of victories this season.

Charging from sixth place and chasing race leader Martin Truex Jr. after a restart on Lap 259 of 267, Harvick found speed in the top lane with five laps left and passed Truex on the outside through Turns 3 and 4 on the penultimate lap.

In winning his second straight race and his fifth in 12 starts this season, Harvick beat Truex to the finish line by .390 seconds. The victory was Harvick's third at Kansas Speedway, tying him for most ever at the 1.5-mile track.

"I think, as you look at the last couple of laps, it wasn't working for me on the bottom, and I was able to make up some ground on the top," said Harvick, who will try to win three straight races in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford for the second time this season when NASCAR's top tour goes to Charlotte for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600.

"I thought, if it came down to it, I could pass him on the bottom, because my car went through (Turns) 1 and 2 on the bottom, or I could drive through the middle of 3 and 4, but I just had to pick which lane.  He wasn't going to choose, and he never chose the high lane, and we were able to drive right by."

Having taken the lead by staying out on older tires after a caution for an accident involving Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney on Lap 248, Truex thought he could keep Harvick behind him over the closing laps. That proved not to be the case.

"I thought we were going to be all right there," said Truex, who was trying for a third straight win at Kansas. "Like three or four laps to go, my car just got real tight, and I chattered the right front off of Turn 4, and I was like, ‘Oh boy, that's not good.'

"We had been so tight all night, and I didn't know where to go once he was getting there. If I go to the top, he's just going to catch me on the bottom. I might as well run where I feel I can run the fastest, and I did, and it just wasn't enough."

The most violent accident of the night set up the final restart with nine laps left and the dramatic pass for the victory. In Turn 4 on Lap 253, William Byron got loose underneath Clint Bowyer's Ford and knocked Bowyer up the track. Byron's No. 24 Chevrolet slammed into the outside wall with a bone-rattling impact that lifted the rear of the car off the pavement.

Byron's car landed on the hood of Ryan Newman's Chevrolet and slid down the track with fire in the engine compartment. All told, seven cars were involved in the wreck, including the No. 6 Ford of Matt Kenseth, who finished 36th in his first race of the season.

Byron was shaken but otherwise unhurt after the multicar wreck.

"Yeah, that one hurt really bad," Byron said. "But I'm fine. We took two tires there and couldn't get it turned on the bottom and then got sucked around at the last minute. I just should have been lower on the track than that. "Just couldn't rotate. Couldn't cut. I think, overall, we were trying to kind of push some things there and it just didn't work out. That was definitely the hardest hit I've been in. But I'm thankful to be walking, so that's good."

Joey Logano ran third, followed by Larson and Denny Hamlin. Larson made a remarkable recovery after he and Blaney made contact in Turn 1 on Lap 248, when Blaney was trying to side-draft aggressively. Blaney, who led 54 laps before the accident, slammed into the Turn 1 wall and exited the race.

Kyle Larson led a race-high 101 laps in Saturday night's race
Jim Fluharty/HHP for Chevy Racing
But Larson continued, and he took on fresh rubber under the final caution and charged through the pack to fourth place.

"Blaney was side-drafting really hard, and I was as high as I could get, and we made contact, whatever, and we had a bunch of damage," said Larson, who won the second stage and led a race-high 101 laps to Harvick's 79. "So I hate that we didn't turn today into a win, but it's satisfying to see how much speed our car had tonight.

"And, it's definitely good to show that Chevy has a lot of speed, at least in the No. 42 team. So we'll just keep working hard and try to get as fast as the No. 4."

Paul Menard, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch completed the top 10. Kyle Busch retained the series lead by 12 points over Logano in second place and 19 over Harvick in third. Brad Keselowski (14th on Saturday) is a distant fourth, 107 points back.

RACE RESULTS

Finish Start # Driver Sponsor/Make laps Led Points Status
1 1 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Light Ford 267 79 58 Running
2 7 78 Martin Truex Jr. 5-hour ENERGY Toyota 267 13 36 Running
3 9 22 Joey Logano AAA Insurance Ford 267 6 47 Running
4 22 42 Kyle Larson Clover/First Data Chevrolet 267 101 49 Running
5 6 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 267 0 36 Running
6 11 21 Paul Menard Menards/Atlas Ford 267 0 31 Running
7 12 20 Erik Jones Reser's Toyota 267 0 32 Running
8 8 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Ford 267 0 35 Running
9 4 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Prime Ford 267 0 38 Running
10 3 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Caramel Toyota 267 0 37 Running
11 16 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. SunnyD Ford 267 10 26 Running
12 17 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 267 0 25 Running
13 20 38 David Ragan MDS Trucking Ford 267 0 24 Running
14 5 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Truck Parts Ford 267 0 31 Running
15 33 14 Clint Bowyer Haas 30 Years of the VF1 Ford 267 0 26 Running
16 18 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 266 0 21 Running
17 25 3 Austin Dillon Symbicort Chevrolet 266 4 20 Running
18 19 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 266 0 19 Running
19 23 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 265 0 18 Running
20 36 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 265 0 17 Running
21 34 95 Kasey Kahne Tommy Williams Drywall Chevrolet 264 0 16 Running
22 37 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford 263 0 15 Running
23 21 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. World Wide Technology Chevrolet 262 0 14 Running
24 27 72 Corey LaJoie Schluter-Systems Chevrolet 262 0 13 Running
25 31 0 Landon Cassill VNH Electric Chevrolet 260 0 12 Running
26 28 15 Ross Chastain LowT Center Chevrolet 259 0 0 Running
27 30 55 Reed Sorenson Harrah's Chevrolet 259 0 10 Running
28 14 19 Daniel Suarez STANLEY Toyota 258 0 9 Running
29 29 23 Gray Gaulding BK Racing Toyota 257 0 8 Running
30 15 31 Ryan Newman Cabela's Chevrolet 253 0 7 Accident
31 24 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 253 0 6 Accident
32 38 66 Timmy Hill CrashClaimsR.us Toyota 253 0 0 Running
33 13 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 252 0 4 Accident
34 10 37 Chris Buescher Breyers 2 in 1 Chevrolet 252 0 3 Accident
35 32 51 BJ McLeod PREFUND CAPITAL Chevrolet 251 0 0 Running
36 35 6 Matt Kenseth Wyndham Rewards Ford 250 0 1 Accident
37 2 12 Ryan Blaney REV Group Ford 247 54 19 Accident
38 26 13 Ty Dillon Twisted Tea Chevrolet 247 0 1 Accident



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