Kevin Harvick won a wreck-filled race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, keeping out of trouble all afternoon and making a big move in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Harvick pulled away from Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon on a restart with 19 laps to go for his third win of the year. It came after Harvick sat on the pole for the first time in 254 races.
The last time he qualified first, at New Hampshire in 2006, he also won the race.
He was chased across the line by Busch and Gordon. Joey Logano finished fourth, Carl Edwards was fifth and Jimmie Johnson finished sixth despite a hiccup with his engine on the final lap.
Matt Kenseth held onto his lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with an 11th-place finish. Johnson narrowed the gap to just three points.
Kevin Harvick wins caution-filled Hollywood Casino 400
KANSAS CITY, KS – OCTOBER 06:
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 13th Annual Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 6, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas.
It’s still looks like a three-man race for the Sprint Cup Series title, but a record-setting number of cautions at Kansas Speedway shuffled the contenders.
Kevin Harvick held off Kurt Busch to win Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 and throw himself into the thick of the 2013 NASCAR championship battle.
With six races remaining this season, Harvick is third in the series standings behind leader Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson.
Harvick’s title hopes got a boost by a bad day for Kyle Busch, who wrecked out after 199 laps, and dropped from third to fifth in points.
Jeff Gordon finished third in the race, Joey Logano was fourth and Carl Edwards was fifth.
The race got off to a rough start with Danica Patrick wrecking in Turn 2 before the completion of a single lap. The wreck was severe enough to bring a very early end to her day.
Harvick, who started from the pole, took control of the race, leading 78 of the first 79 laps.
Johnson moved out to the lead on Lap 80 and was passed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. when a caution for debris was displayed just as green-flag pit stops were starting for several drivers.
Among those shuffled to the back of the field by the caution included Harvick and Johnson. On the restart on Lap 92, Earnhardt led the way.
Kenseth took over the on the restart and remained out front until Earnhardt reclaimed the lead on Lap 113 just as a caution was displayed for oil on the track.
On the restart on Lap 118, Earnhardt remained in the lead.
Justin Allgaier wrecked on Lap 137 to bring out the sixth caution of the race. During a round of pit stops, Kenseth was penalized for speeding on pit road. On the restart on Lap 146, Harvick moved back into the lead followed by Kyle Busch and Logano.
A small brush fire outside Turn 1 of the track forced NASCAR to throw a caution on Lap 156. Several lead-lap cars took the opportunity to pit for fuel and tires. On the restart on Lap 160, Logano was the leader followed by Juan Pablo Montoya.
David Ragan’s spin on Lap 170 brought out the ninth caution of the race. On the restart on Lap 175, Brad Keselowski took over the race lead since he elected not to pit.
Debris on the track brought out the 10th caution of the race on Lap 182. Keselowski continued to remain out front on the restart on Lap 185.
Montoya and Kyle Busch made contact on Lap 187 in an incident that also collected Mark Martin to bring out the 11th caution of the race. On the restart on Lap 192, Keselowski remained out front followed by Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin.
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards made contact on Lap 200 in an incident that also collected Brian Vickers. The game to Busch’s car was extensive and was towed to the garage.
On the restart on Lap 207, Keselowski remained in the lead.
Several teams began green-flag pit stops on Lap 221. But again they were interrupted by a caution on Lap 228 for debris. All of the lead-lap cars pit for fuel and tires and Jeff Burton took fuel-only and took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 233. He was followed by Harvick and Jeff Gordon.
Harvick quickly recaptured the lead from Burton after the restart.
Vickers slammed into the wall on Lap 244 to bring out a track-record 15th caution. On the restart on Lap 249, Harvick continued to lead followed by Gordon and Edwards.