Kevin Harvick Sweeps All Three Stages To Win The Rinnai 250 At Atlanta

by February 24, 2018 0 comments

HAMPTON, Ga. – On Saturday afternoon, Kevin Harvick absolutely dominated all three stages in the Rinnai 250 to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Harvick, the 42-year-old Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran led 141 of the 163 laps on Saturday en route to Victory Lane. The win is Harivck’s fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Atlanta, and four of those victories have come within the past six races at the speedway. He now has 47 overall wins in the series.

Harvick, driver of the No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang said in Victory Lane, “It has just been a really good place for me and obviously getting my first Cup win here and being able to, you know, run good cars throughout the years, and the racetrack has stayed very similar to what it has been for a number of years, and I think as you look at the techniques and the things that I do in the car, and they give me what I want in the car as far as the feel, and it just applies here. It has been a great racetrack for us. I was frustrated last year here. We didn’t leave here with a trophy on either day, and that’s always our goal is to win one day.”

Team Penske’s Joey Logano finished second in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang. Logano has now finished within the top-10 in every NASCAR XFINITY Series start that he has had at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Logano was fast on Saturday, but at the end of the day, he said that he just wasn’t able to keep up with Harvick.

“I don’t think that we were even close,” Logano said following a runner-up finish. “Kevin played with us all day long. He just road along out there. He ran a few hard laps when he needed to and then get enough distance and then he would chill back out. Kevin is just really good at it. It doesn’t matter what car he is driving, but he’s just really good at Atlanta. Apparently, we’re second best.”

Finishing third was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell in the No. 20 Ruud Toyota Camry. Although Bell is the defending winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Saturday’s effort marked his first appearance at the track in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

“Our Ruud Camry was really fast,” Bell said. “We just weren’t quite good enough to catch up to the 98 (Kevin Harvick). I felt like the 22 (Joey Logano) and I were pretty equal. At times I’d be better, at times he’d be better. Probably just used it up too much on that last one. I hope the all fans enjoyed watching the race on their Xfinity X1 app and tune in next week for a good one at Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway).”

John Hunter Nemechek finished an impressive fourth in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut on Saturday. Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five, while his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric, Kyle Benjamin, Ryan Truex and Ryan Reed completed the top-10.

Of the four cautions, only one was for a crash. On lap 12, the caution came out when Tyler Reddick was sent across the nose of Cole Custer on the frontstretch after contact from Sadler. Custer lost control and pounded the outside wall, ending his day. Custer finished a disappointing 39th.

“It looks like the 42 (Tyler Reddick) got out of shape and then the 1 (Elliott Sadler) had a run and he didn’t hit the brakes hard enough and he hit the 42 and the 42 hit me,” Custer said. “We just got collected in something and there’s not much we could do. We had a pretty good car and was just kind of riding at that point, but, I don’t know. We’ll go on to the next one.”

Sadler leads Reddick in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings by a mere four points.

The third race of the season for the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 3. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 4 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Atlanta Motor Speedway

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