Kevin Harvick Wins In Kentucky To Earn JR Motorsports’ Fifth Victory In 2014

Kevin Harvick Wins In Kentucky To Earn JR Motorsports’ Fifth Victory In 2014

by June 27, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

SPARTA, Ky. – For the first time in 13 years, Kevin Harvick visited Victory Lane at Kentucky Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series after winning Friday night’s John R. Elliott HERO 300 presented by Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Harvick only led 14 laps to earn his 42nd career series victory. Friday night’s win was his second of the season. He won at Richmond International Raceway back in April. The win also marked the fifth time a JR Motorsports team has won in 2014. That’s the most wins the organization has ever had in one season.

Brad Keselowski started on the pole and led 138 laps, most of any driver on Friday night. However, he was caught for speeding on pit road on lap 148. Keselowski was able to fight back in the final laps to capture a second place finish, his fifth top-10 in 2014.

“We had a great day going, and I got us behind there with a pit road speeding penalty,” Keselowski said. “I just made a little mistake, but the Discount Tire team did a great job. They gave me a really fast car and just didn’t quite capitalize on it there at the end, but I thought Kevin at the end was just as fast, if not a touch faster, so we had a really good, and like you said, a dominant daytime car but the race obviously finished under night and we were all probably pretty equal then.”

Kyle Busch finished third to earn his fifth top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway in seven starts. He led 38 laps; second most of any driver on Friday night.

The first caution for an accident came on lap 103 when strangely enough, veteran Matt Kenseth lost control of his car and slammed the inside wall on the backstretch while exiting turn two.

On lap 170, the caution flew once again when Regan Smith and Ryan Reed got together on the backstretch. Reed had minimal damage, but Smith hit the inside wall hard before the entrance to turn three. Regan Smith entered the race as the point leader, but due to the 28th place finish, he falls back to third. Ryan Reed finished 17th.

“I was proud of us because we had speed,” Reed said. “We practiced top-five and qualified top-15 and raced top-15 all night and just couldn’t catch a break there. When the 7 got into us and wrecked himself, they penalized me and didn’t give me the lucky dog because they said I was involved, so it just didn’t seem I could do anything right. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time all night, but we had a fast race car. We were faster than a lot of guys in front of us at the end, but just ran out of laps. We needed about a 400-lap race when we’re having that kind of luck.”

With only seven laps to go, Chase Elliott got loose underneath Trevor Bayne entering turn three. As Elliott tried to save his car, Bayne was forced up the track and into the wall. During the caution, Bayne sent his displeasure by wearing out Elliott’s back bumper. Elliott finished 12th, while Bayne finished 15th.

“Week after week I’m getting used up by people,” Bayne said. “It’s frustrating as can be. Chase is a great kid and a great driver, but it’s the same old story. They get to my inside and just run me up the race track, packing air on their doors and wreck us. We’ve got the bad end of the deal three weeks in a row, and I don’t know what it takes to get respect around here.

“I feel like I’ve always raced pretty hard, but clean when I needed to, and I give respect to the people that give it to me. If Brad gets to me or Kyle, you let them go because they would do the same for you. But you race the 3 car or the 31 – I haven’t had an issue with the 9 before – but today you get to them and they race you semi-crazy and it goes both ways. Hopefully it stops soon and we can race, and we can get our cars a little better so we don’t have to worry about those guys. We should be in front of them anyways, but it was a frustrating night for us. We had a top-10 run going there and ended with a 15th-place finish. That’s not what we were looking for, but we’ll keep digging in and get these things faster.”

On the restart with only five laps to go, Harvick took off with Kyle Busch alongside. In the end, no one could keep up with Harvick in the closing laps. JR Motorsports may have gotten the win, but with Elliott Sadler’s 10th place finish makes him the only car not in the JR Motorsports stable to lead the point standings this season.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will visit Daytona International Speedway on Friday, July 4 for the SUBWAY Firecracker 250 powered by Coca-Cola. The race will be live on ESPN 2, Motor Racing Network (MRN) and NASCAR on Sirius XM at 7:30 p.m. ET.

John R. Elliott HERO 300 presented by Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Top-10 Results:
1.) #5 Kevin Harvick
2.) #22 Brad Keselowski
3.) #54 Kyle Busch
4.) #33 Paul Menard
5.) #12 Ryan Blaney
6.) #62 Brendan Gaughan
7.) #3 Ty Dillon
8.) #2 Brian Scott
9.) #42 Kyle Larson
10.) #11 Elliott Sadler

NASCAR Nationwide Series Point Standings Top-10:
1.) #11 Elliott Sadler
2.) #9 Chase Elliott -4
3.) #7 Regan Smith -8
4.) #3 Ty Dillon -29
5.) #2 Brian Scott -47
6.) #6 Trevor Bayne -59
7.) #62 Brendan Gaughan -93
8.) #99 James Buescher -123
9.) #60 Chris Buescher -127
10.) #01 Landon Cassill -142

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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