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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick gets All-Star win

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 19: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After winning five of the first 12 points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races of 2018, Kevin Harvick continued his dominance of the series Saturday night in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

“Just want to thank everybody from Jimmy John’s, Busch, Ford, Fields, Haas Automation, Mobil 1, Outback Steakhouse, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Morton Buildings, Textron Off-Road, Liftmaster and the fans, especially,” Harvick said.

Daniel Suarez finished second after advancing from the preliminary Monster Energy Open via a stage win. He got into the top-three of the All-Star running order by getting off pit road third after pitting from 10th during the caution after the first 30-lap stage.

“I felt like we had a car, actually, capable to win the race,” Suarez said. “We were very strong, competitive. For whatever reason, restarts, my car was taking like one lap to go and those guys, when two Fords were connected, they were pretty strong. We just – I needed a little bit more right there.”

Joey Logano finished third, Denny Hamlin was fourth, and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five after advancing to the All-Star Race via the fan vote.

“I think, in general, our cars were just too slow to be up front,” Hamlin said. “Once we did get the lead, it was complete defense mode.”

The All-Star Race was split into four stages that were scheduled for distances of 30, 20, 20 and 10 laps. After the first couple of stages ran relatively incident free, with the combined 50 laps including only one caution for an on-track incident, a Kurt Busch spin on lap two, both the third and fourth stages went into overtime.

The third stage was extended by two overtime restarts — one after an Alex Bowman spun into the wall.

“Just got loose,” Bowman said. “We had been really tight all night. I knocked the nose off of it early. We got slid, and I wasn’t happy about it, and instead of checking up, I didn’t lift. I probably should have lifted, because it hurt me more than the guy that ran us like that. I’m just frustrated. I feel like these guys have taken advantage of me quite a bit this year, and I’m over lifting for guys. I’m not going to go out of my way to slow myself down to help somebody else out. They would race me the same way. I’m just kind of over it, but as far the crash, I just got loose and it stepped out. I saved it; it stepped out again, and I couldn’t save it. Really frustrating. I hate it for my guys. It’s my fault that we were in the situation further back than we should have been. I should have just been more patient and not knocked the nose off of it early.”

and the second for a multi-car incident involving Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kesneth as they attempted to race their ways to the front on newer tires after other frontrunners including Kyle Larson, Suarez,Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick stayed out during the previous caution and were on older tires.

“Just not a whole lot of room going into (turn) three,” Truex said. “You know; we were four-wide on the restart, there, and just trying to get into three without getting crashed. I knew if we had a shot with 10 to go, we had a shot to win that thing, and if I’d have lifted there, we would have never won it. That’s the way it works.”

Blaney fell out of contention for the All-Star win and its accompanying $1 million prize after contact with Logano that resulted in an additional overtime restart in the final stage of the race.

In addition to taking the overall win, Harvick also was the race leader at the end of the first and third stages through his race-high 36 laps-led. Kyle Busch was running up front at the conclusion of stage two. Harvick was the only driver to lead more than 20 laps in the event that was scheduled for 80 laps but extended to 93. Busch was second in the laps-led category, running up front for 19 laps. The only other driver to post a double-digit tally in the laps-led column was reigning Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., running up front for 17 laps.

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Posted by on May 20, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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