Kevin Harvick went to victory lane Sunday evening at Richmond Raceway, taking home the NASCAR Cup Series trophy in the Federated Auto Parts 400 for his 60th career win.
It marked his second consecutive win after ending a 65-race winless drought at Michigan International Speedway last Sunday.
After his triumph at Michigan, Harvick said, “Everybody who doubted us doesn’t know us.”
This week he doubled down.
When asked if he expected to win back-to-back, he said, in part, “You know, I didn’t know. It’s like I said last week, the cars have been running good week in and week out, and you see that we have a lot better understanding of what’s going on with how we adjusted on the car after the first run and were able to get our car handling a lot better. I think as it got dark, the racetrack really came to our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang.”
Harvick is now tied with Kyle Busch on the all-time Cup Series wins list.
He led 55 laps in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, holding off a hard-charging Christopher Bell, who finished second. Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five finishers.
When Bell was asked what he needed to catch Harvick who had 12-lap fresher tires, he said, “I don’t know, I got held up a little bit there on the front side, and I guess when you’re splitting hairs like that, that probably cost me the race. That’s two races in a row here at Richmond. At the beginning of the year we kind of had that same strategy and barely missed fifth coming to the line, and today it was the win.”
He also acknowledged his pit crew, saying, “The pit crew really came through at the end there with some blazing stops and allowed us to get in front of the 11 (Hamlin) who was on the same strategy as us and get up there and contend.”
Joey Logano, who led a race-high 222 laps, faded in the closing laps to finish sixth, was followed by Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney to round out the top 10.
Elliott, the current point standings leader, was the only Chevrolet driver to finish in the top ten and acknowledged that the team needs to improve before the Playoffs begin.
“Obviously we want to be better,” he said, “and Michigan was a big time struggle for us. This weekend was too all the way up until the last few runs. We will go to work and try to finish these last two weeks strong and get ready for Darlington.”
With only one open spot left in the Playoffs and two races remaining, Blaney improved his position over Truex to a +26 points advantage after earning 11 stage points throughout the race.
Tune in next week as the Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 21 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.