NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick finally claimed his first Nationwide Series win since 2010 on Friday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, winning the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 after dominating several races this season but always falling just short at the end and giving up the win to someone else.
“I think we’ve led more races in 10 races this year than anyone else running all the races,” Harvick said.
While the event was all about the win for Harvick, who isn’t racing for championship points in the Nationwide Series, for series regulars running for a title, the race at Richmond had serious points ramifications, especially for a couple of championship contenders.
Elliott Sadler was able to hold on to his points lead, but just barely. After making contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with 65 laps to go, Sadler hit the wall and went a lap down.
“I made a big mistake,” Sadler said, taking responsibility for the incident. “I got in there a little too lose.”
He was able to recover, though, by geting back on the lead lap to finish 12th. With the recovery, Sadler was able to hold on to his points lead, but it shrunk to a single point over Stenhouse, who finished the race in the second position.
Stenhouse’s night and emotions were on the more positive side of the spectrum.
“It was fun racing,” Stenhouse, last week’s race winner, said of once again racing Harvick for the win. “I gave it all I had.
Sam Hornish Jr., who headed into the race third in the championship points standings, also had a rough night, with his race ending with an on-track incident with Timmy Hill with 94 laps to go in the 250-lap eventh.
As a result, Hornish lost the third spot to Austin Dillon, who finished the race just outside the top-five in the sixth position. Hornish is now fourth, 50 points behind Sadler. Third-place Dillon’s deficit is 30 points.
After Friday night’s race, the championship battle is shaping up to be a two-man race between Sadler and Stenhouse, as only a single point separate the two, with Dillon more than a half race back and Hornish more than a full race worth of points out of the lead.
Below, is the top-10 finishing order of Friday’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at RIR:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
3. Kurt Busch
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Michael Annett
6. Austin Dillon
7. Ty Dillon
8. Joe Nemechek
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Darrell Wallace Jr.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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