It is now official. Kevin Harvick is the most generous driver in NASCAR. No one shared like Harvick did Sunday at Dover.
Harvick started up front after inspection issues removed Kyle Larson from starting at point. After leading the first 21 laps, he turned it over to Alex Bowman before Brad Keselowski took over for the next 60. Nearing the end of the opening segment, Harvick returned to wrap it up. Segment two, Harvick shared with Keselowski. Until the final 40 laps, when it was again all Harvick.
As for the final frame, Harvick remained happy sharing the lead. He allowed Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Clint Bowyer to run in clean air. He even allowed Joey Logano a single lap up front. However, when he got tired of just fooling around, Harvick regained control over the final 63 laps to beat Bowyer by seven seconds. It was his fourth win of the season (one of which is encumbered), 41st of his career, and his second ever at Dover. Hopefully, this time young Keelan Harvick does not bust the arm of this Miles the Monster Trophy.
As for the likes of Harvick, who picked up maximum points, Bowyer, third place finisher Daniel Suarez, and Keselowski in sixth, it was the best of times. The worst of times were experienced by Paul Menard and Ryan Newman. Both went back to the garage with wheel related mechanical issues and returned many, many laps down for single-digit points runs. Austin Dillon and Bowman were not much better finishing outside the best 20. In fact, if not for that Daytona win, Marshal Dillon would be hanging his hat on 19th place in the standings.
Kyle Busch was good. So good that he quit talking about that vibration he had. The one that got worse and worse as the day went on. In a steady Top Five ride, something finally broke in the drive train and his worries were realized. He finished 35th, but he did collect 17 bonus points to soften the blow somewhat.
Busch remains atop the leader ladder in points and tied with Harvick for “unencumbered” wins. Bowman and Jimmie Johnson came into Dover 13th and 15th in the standings, respectively, but swapped spots as Johnson came home in 9th. Stenhouse finished 15th, but he lost the 16th and final Chase place to Chase Elliott who was 12th on the day. His bonus points vault him into that final playoff berth. Suarez was outside the Top 20 coming in but now sits just seven points behind Elliott as Menard falls outside the Top 20, nine points behind Newman.
Next up is Kansas, where Martin Truex Jr. swept 2017. He comes in after finishing fourth in Delaware. Do not count out Johnson. Even if he fails to win his fourth on that track, he has failed to make the Top Ten just six out of 23 attempts. Ole Seven Time won’t move up on the standings after this race in points, but it is funny what a single win could do. Maybe Harvick will be willing to share.