After a rain delay of nearly three-and-a-half hours, Kevin Harvick dominated the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway that began on Friday night and ran into the wee hours of Saturday morning, leading 202 laps of the 250 that made up the race on his way to his seventh-career win at the track. While running up front for those 202 laps, Harvick became the all-time Richmond laps leader in Nationwide competition.
For most of Harvick’s laps led, his JR Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott, ran second. Elliott also finished in that position to give JR Motorsports its first-ever one-two finish. It was also the third-straight win for JRM, as Elliott drove to victory lane after the two most recent races at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth prior to the Easter off-weekend.
“He pushes us to be better,” Harvick said of his teammate. “He’s as good as they get.”
Harvick took the lead from pole sitter Brian Scott, who led 45 laps early, just before the lap 50 mark and led the rest of the race.
By the time the race approached the 100-lap mark, Harvick had a lead of nearly five seconds. As a result of the cushion, he was able to maintain his lead through a lengthy cycle of green-flag pit stops, despite staying out on older tires longer in a race that saw significant tire wear.
“We got a little off on that one run, there,” Harvick said.”
Elliott also pitted late, but wound up sixth after the cycle completed. It only took him a few laps, though, to get back up to third. Elliott got off pit road second to Harvick during a debris caution that came out on lap 151 and ran second to his teammate for the remainder of the race.
“We were just a little tight coming out of the corner,” Elliott said. “I think he (Harvick) just out-drove me.”
Kyle Busch finished third, and Kyle Larson got by Ryan Blaney with 16 laps to go for fourth. By the end, Blaney had slid back to ninth. After leading early, Scott wound up fifth.
Elliott Sadler and Regan Smith both spun on a restart with 54 laps remaining to immediately bring out another caution. But both drivers recovered to finish in the top-10, with Sadler finishing sixth and Smith eighth.
Chris Buescher finished seventh, and James Buescher rounded out the top-10.