Harvick wins Nationwide race in Nashville

LEBANON, Tenn. — Kevin Harvick found out that two tires were enough as he outlasted cars with four fresh tires over the final 35 green-flag laps as he captured the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Nashville 300 on Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway.
Harvick won for the second time this year and the 36th time in his career. He also picked up a $25,000 bonus for winning the first of Nationwide’s four “Dash 4 Cash” races this season.
“I knew we had 25-30 laps to hold them off and (the car) got tighter than we would have wanted it to,” said Harvick, who was competing at the track for the first time in four years and took home his second guitar trophy from Nashville.
“But we had the track position and it worked out. … It was definitely fun. It’s a lot more fun when you win.”
The driver/owner beat Reed Sorenson by 0.199 seconds with Kyle Busch finishing third, Justin Allgaier in fourth and Brad Keselowski in fifth.
“We were a little bit better than (Harvick) the whole time and I was catching him,” Sorenson said. “When we got caught in lapped traffic, he was able to hold his own through a couple of those corners. At the end, I was catching him. We needed about five more laps to get to him.”
Joey Logano, who led 122 of the 250 laps, and Keselowski were the only two lead-lap cars not to pit when the caution came out with 82 laps remaining. Both had to pit later under green, lost a lap and then the caution came out with 38 laps remaining, leaving Keselowski 18th and Logano 19th on the restart with 35 remaining.
Logano got stalled on the inside lane on that restart and ended up eighth.
“We had a winning car,” Logano said. “There’s no reason why we couldn’t have won. We gave it away.”
The accident where Logano and Keselowski stayed out wasn’t really an accident—Jason Leffler tagged James Buescher in retaliation for an incident earlier in the race when Buescher got loose underneath Leffler, turning Leffler into the outside wall.
NASCAR parked Leffler for the remainder of the race.
It was at that time that Harvick decided to pit. He took four tires and was about a dozen laps short on fuel, as he went into a fuel-conservation mode in case the race went green the rest of the way. Because he hadn’t been pushing his car, he made the decision for two tires when the caution came out with 38 laps left.
“I really thought a lot more people would put two tires on because the tires really didn’t fall off that much,” Harvick said. “Ours didn’t fall off that much. I hate putting two tires on. Tonight, we put two tires on and it worked out for us. … Track position was more important than the handling of the car.”
Carl Edwards, who finished sixth, retained the points lead, 16 points ahead of Brad Keselowski and 21 points ahead of Keselowski’s Penske Racing teammate, Justin Allgaier.

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