NASCAR: Harvick launches car to win in Richmond

Posted Apr 28, 2013 by John Duarte
Kevin Harvick led only three laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, but that was all he needed to win the Toyota Owners 400 on Saturday night.
Kevick Harvick toasts his win of the Toyota Owners 400  the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmon...
Kevick Harvick toasts his win of the Toyota Owners 400, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on April 27, 2013.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Harvick’s good fortune started on Lap 396, in the scheduled 400-lap race, when he sped away from pit lane on new tires. In front of him ran three drivers who had decided not to pit after the eleventh caution of the day in the closing laps of the Toyota Owners 400. That yellow-flag pushed the race beyond its scheduled distance and brought about a green-white-checker finish. At the end of the race, Harvick praised his team for deciding to take on new tires.
“We’ve been on the wrong side of those decisions a few times this year,” the race winner said. “I drove it in there, hoped for the best. It all worked out.”
Harvick was sitting seventh as the field prepared to go back to green-flag racing. He says while other drivers seemed to sputter on the restart, his car “launched.”
“I just shifted gears, hit the pedal and hoped for the best,” he said. “The seas kind of parted there. They all went high and I went low.”
Harvick added that though only nine races into the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the lack of positive results wears on everyone on the team.
“We’ve had the speed and we were frustrated,” he said. “You can talk until you’re blue in the face that your car is running good. I think a win goes a long ways.”
Clint Bowyer led the field for 113 of the race total 406 laps, but at the end of the day that means little in auto racing unless you lead the final lap. The second-place finisher admitted he couldn’t keep pace with Harvick, though he finished just one-third of a second behind the race winner.
“We had a good car, we just didn’t have a great car,” Bowyer said. “The thing had a tremendous amount of drive in it and it seemed like I couldn’t get the car to turn and rotate on the throttle quite good enough.”
Joey Logano finished third and saluted his team for taking a “20th-place car at one point and got it back into the Top 10.”
Jimmie Johnson extends his lead in the Sprint Cup Series. He is 43 points ahead of Carl Edwards and 46 up on Kasey Kahne.
The Aaron’s 499 at the Talladega Superspeedway, in Alabama, is the next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule on May 5.