Defending race victor and reigning Cup Series champion had one win prior to this weekend, but he and the 78 team haven't been as dominant as they were en route to the title. His total matches a career high for Harvick, who still has 24 chances to win a few more Monster Energy Cup Series races. "We led a lot of laps and had fun", Larson said. "It was a great race".
In winning his second straight race and his fifth in 12 starts this season, Harvick beat Truex to the finish line by.390 seconds. "They crashed kind of underneath me, in front of me and just got all wadded up", said Newman. "Like three or four laps to go, my vehicle just got real tight, and I chattered the right front off of Turn 4, and I was like, 'Oh boy, that's not good'. He was coming quick". In the meantime. Larson continued his relentless climb toward the top, engaging in a thrilling multi-lap battle with Joey Logano for the third position. Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
"Kevin was ripping there with the new tires at the end".
Harvick said Larson had the fastest vehicle. Even after the race was cleared out by a massive wreck late he was behind Martin Truex Jr. for the lead in the final 14 laps. But things really shook up a few laps later, when Harvick passed Larson on the restart to assume control, and Larson's No. 42 auto began bumping with Ryan Blaney down the front stretch. Both drivers were able to continue racing, but just second laps later, Blaney and Larson made contact, cutting a tire on the No. 12 Ford and sending him hard into the outside wall. "I was just trying to side draft hard and the auto was kind of right down the front stretch there, and it was just hard racing at the end", Blaney said. Everybody just kept working through trying to make the vehicle better and we were able to wind up in Victory Lane.
The race had barely returned to green when William Byron triggered a heavy wreck in front of the main grandstand. Local favourites Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray were among a half-dozen cars involved.
"Yeah, that one hurt really bad", Byron said. We just got swiped and something that who knows, I haven't seen a replay, I don't know. I think, overall, we were trying to kind of push some things there and it just didn't work out.
The final caution flag resulted in a 13 minute and 13 second red flag when seven cars tangled on the frontstretch.
Charging from sixth place and chasing race leader Martin Truex Jr. after a restart on Lap 259 of 267, Harvick found speed in the top lane with five laps left and passed Truex on the outside through Turns 3 and 4 on the penultimate lap. But the No. 4 auto swept past Logano and Hamlin on the outside to put Truex in his sights, then closed down the lead until finally overtaking the reigning series champion with a lap to go. To say they're hungry to change that would be an understatement.
"It was pushing and shoving late race restart and everybody gets impatient so just wadded up a bunch of cars".
After his week started on a high with the birth of his daughter, Larson was on his way to capping it with a win.
Larson's problems compounded further when a miscommunication on the ensuing pit stop led to him exiting his pit box before his left rear tire was secured. "So I hate that we didn't turn today into a win, but it's satisfying to see how much speed our auto had tonight".