(WOMR file photo)
After all the dust cleared, the crumpled sheet metal was loaded up on the haulers, the hyphenated four letter words subsided, the tempers settled down, and the fists became unclenched, it was Kevin Harvick celebrating the victory in the Toyota Owner’s 400 in the winners circle Saturday night in the former capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA.
It was the first victory of the season for both “Happy” Harvick and Richard Childress Racing!
Finishing second was Clint Bowyer of Michael Waltrip Racing while Joey Logano of Penske Racing was third.
Juan Pablo Montoya, who appeared to have the race won until a caution flag waved with four laps to go, finished fourth. Fifth was Jeff Burton.
Harvick won the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona and then his Budweiser Duel qualifying race in Speedweeks, however, he has been shut out since. The victory Saturday marked the first top-five finish by Harvick in 2013, as well.
The win was the 20th of Harvick’s career.
Harvick restarted out of the top five on the green/white-checkered, but all but one of the cars in front of him – Montoya’s – did not pit during the caution and were on old tires.
When the race went green for the final time, Harvick quickly maneuvered through the crowd, by diving to the bottom of the track in turn#1, and took the lead. It was a lead that was never challenged in the two lap overtime edition of the race.
“That was a heck of a first lap of the restart,” he told reporters. “I thought that the outside line might have the advantage because it had a couple of guys with new tires in the second row, and lined up on the outside. But the two tires – these cars drive a lot off the left rear – and we only took two tires, and they didn’t get that great of restart but my car launched, and I was able to drive it in the first corner and hope for the best down there. I figured four, eight, 12…how many ever tires that were on the outside of me would be better than none. It all worked out, and here we are.”
Bowyer led 113 laps but didn’t have a car that could stay with Harvick at the end.
“We had a good car—we just didn’t have a great car,” Bowyer said. “It seemed like we were just too tight on the throttle. It would quite turn and come up off (the corner). It really got wild there at the end. I was just lucky enough to be on the bottom (for the final restart).
“They started making holes up there in front of me, and the seas parted, and I just followed suit behind Harvick. It was a good run.”
Post-race action grabbed attention away from Harvick’s victory celebration.
Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart whacked away at each other during the cool down lap, and then swapped heritage insults in the garage area. Stewart was fifth on the final restart but dropped to 18th at the finish after Busch rubbed him out of the racing groove during a two-lap free-for-all at the end of the race. Busch, who led 36 laps in the race, also was involved in bumping incidents with Matt Kenseth.
“There are cars sliding up with old tires,” Busch aid. “So, I don’t know what the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) was upset about. I got hit from behind. I got hit every which-way. So did he. (Matt) Kenseth moved us up out of the way at the end, so that’s why I was upset with him, but hey; everybody is a free-for-all. We got a top 10. But the biggest thing here is ten laps ago, this car didn’t have a scratch on it and now it’s destroyed.”
As I write everytime that NASCAR rolls into one of their “bullring” type race tracks, there is going to be some tempers lost, some very colorful hyphenated profane language, some bruised egos, and some heartache, by the time the crews load up what is left of their mangled race cars!
With that thought, I will leave you with this appropriate Eagles video as a parting shot!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!