After starting on the pole for Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch looked to have the dominant car, leading the way for almost 70 laps to open the race, but Kevin Harvick took over around lap 70, getting by Busch for the lead and keeping his car out front for much of the remainder of the race, leading 127 laps of the 200-lap event. Harvick was still out front when the checkered flag waved, taking the race win.
“It feels great, obviously,” Harvick said in victory lane. “This is what we wanted when we put all this together this year — win more races.”
Busch wound up finishing third, after Ryan Blaney, with fresher tires on his car, drove toward the front of the field to take runner-up honors for his best-career Nationwide Series finish.
Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier wound up on a different pit sequence late in the race that put them on newer tires at the end. The four drivers stayed out when the yellow flag waved with about 46 laps to go to restart in the top-four. They dropped back through the field soon after the race went back to green, though, losing positions to drivers on fresher tires.
When the caution came out again with about 25 to go, most cars stayed on the race track, but Blaney, Hamlin, Dillon and Allgaier hit pit road. As a result, they restarted in the back, but with the newer tires were able to drive back toward the front. Hamlin finished fifth, Dillon sixth and Allgaier was eighth.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth, and Sam Hornish Jr. was seventh.
With his top-five finish, Stenhouse tied previous championship points leader Elliott Sadler for the series points lead. Stenhouse fought an ill-handling car for much of the race, but was able to gain ground and make up positions in the closing laps.
“That was a tough night,” Stenhouse said. “First run we were alright. Second run it got bad and we never recovered.”
Meanwhile, Sadler began losing spots late in the reace and wound up finishing 11th. Kevin Swindell finished ninth, and Joey Logano rounded out the top-10.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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