Kevin Harvick Wins Fourth Race of 2018 at Dover
DOVER, DE – RIS – The big question before the AAA Drive for Autism 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race was who was going to get to four wins first. That question was answered after an early start, a rain delay, and a streaking Kevin Harvick.
Harvick dominated the race and drove to his Cup Series-high fourth victory of the season Sunday . It was his first victory since Phoenix.
Harvick reeled off three straight wins at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix earlier this season and now has the 60-pound Miles the Monster trophy to add to his collection.
Harvick swept the first two stages and easily chased down SHR teammate Clint Bowyer in the third for the lead after a 41-minute delay. Bowyer had asked for a rain dance when the race was stopped with 80 laps left.
Once it resumed, Harvick powered his way into victory lane in the No. 4 Ford. He led 201 of 400 laps and stormed past Bowyer and took the lead for good with 62 laps left.
"You knew he was going to be the one that you were going to have to beat for the win," Bowyer said. “I always learn from him. When I went to RCR and now.”
Harvick's 41st career Cup victory gives him a strong nine top-10 finishes and eight top-fives in 11 starts this season. He held four fingers out the window as he took a victory lap on the mile concrete track and won at Dover for the second time.
Bowyer was second. Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
SHR had three cars in the top five with Harvick, Bowyer and Busch.
"Three cars in the top five says a lot about where we are as a company," Harvick said. "It's fun racing your teammate."
SHR has five wins this season and has never won more than six in its 10-year history.
The so-called youth movement that was supposed to usher NASCAR's rebirth continues to fizzle. The Dover program had a photo of seven drivers with one career Cup win on the cover, yet the 42-year-old Harvick became the sixth driver over 40 to win in the last 14 races.
"The opportunity that Gene (Haas) and Tony (Stewart) give all of us at Stewart-Haas makes this a lot of fun," said Bowyer, who won earlier this season at Martinsville Speedway. "It's fun to be running like this again, and competitive and up front in the limelight."
“This track is really hard to maintain the balance on,” said Tony Stewart, Harvick’s car owner. “You know, at times it can get really frustrating. There’s really no drivers that back into a win here. It's guys that have a lot of experience and figure it out. Kevin is so good here. He knows what his balance needs to be in happy hour to be good in the race, and like I say, from the beginning of the race to the end of the race, the cars change so much here that you really have to kind of stay two steps ahead of it to be right at the end of the day.”
Once the race restarted after the rain delay at Lap 315, it only took eighteen laps after the race was restarted from a rain delay, Harvick breezed past Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Bowyer to take the lead. He quickly built a three-second edge.
Kyle Busch, one of the season’s most accomplished drivers, dropped out of the race on lap 272 because of a broken driveshaft. Busch complained of driveshaft problems early in the race but held on and raced in the top five before parking.
“It just kept getting worse and worse the more the day was going, especially after restarts it was really, really bad,” Busch said. “I was just trying to bide it out, see if we’d make it to the end. At first, I thought that it was an engine problem, but that wasn’t the case.”
Stage one had several drivers saving fuel to make it to the end of the stage, Harvick led the opening stage in front of Kyle Busch and Keselowski. Also in the top 10: Suarez, Kurt Busch, Elliott, Bowyer, Johnson, Logano and Blaney.
Stage two had Harvick outrunning Keselowski to gain the win.
Unofficial Finishing Order:
- Kevin Harvick
- Clint Bowyer
- Daniel Suarez
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kurt Busch
- Brad Keselowski
- Denny Hamlin
- Ryan Blaney
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kyle Larson
- Aric Almirola
- Chase Elliott
- Joey Logano
- William Byron
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Jamie McMurray
- Kasey Kahne
- Erik Jones
- Trevor Bayne
- Chris Buescher
- AJ Allmendinger
- Michael McDowell
- Alex Bowman
- Ty Dillon
- Darrell Wallace Jr.
- Austin Dillon
- David Ragan
- Ross Chastain
- Matt DiBenedetto
- Gray Gaulding
- Landon Cassill
- Reed Sorenson
- Ryan Newman
- Paul Menard
- Kyle Busch
- Cody Ware
- Derrike Cope
- Corey LaJoie
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.