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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick notches fifth win of 2018

KANSAS CITY, KS – MAY 12: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light Ford, poses with the winner’s decal after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 12, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After putting together a string of three-consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins early this season, Kevin Harvick is on another winning streak, claiming a second-straight when Saturday night at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City when he took the checkered flag in the KC Masterpiece 400. It was Harvick’s fifth win of 2018, 12 races into the season.

Martin Truex Jr. finished second after Harvick passed him for the lead as the two drivers took the white flag.

“I think, as you look at the last couple of laps, it wasn’t working for me on the bottom, and I was able to make up some ground on the top, and really, I thought, if it came down to it I could pass him (Truex) on the bottom, because my car went through one and two on the bottom, or I could drive through the middle of three and four, but I just had to pick which a lane,” Harvick said. ”He wasn’t going to choose, and he never chose the high lane, and we were able to drive right by.”

Joey Logano finished third, and Kyle Larson was fourth after starting in the back and leading a race-high 101 laps.

Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five.

Harvick, Larson and Ryan Blaney combined to lead 234 laps of the 267-lap race, with Blaney and Larson taking stage wins.

New tires to start the race after a spin in Friday’s qualifying session put Larson in the back for the initial green-flag while Harvick started on the pole and had Blaney alongside in second. Harvick led until a lap-30 competition caution, but Blaney restarted as the leader after beating Harvick out of the pits and remained up front until the first stage ended on lap 80.

Larson was inside the top-10 of the running order by the competition caution, and when the first stage ended, he was inside the top-five.

Harvick got off pit road first after the opening stage to start stage two as the leader, just as he has started the opening stage and the race. On lap 131, though, Larson moved into his first lead of the race and remained there until the end of the second stage at lap 160.

Harvick retook his lead from Larson on lap 243. Five laps later, Harvick’s closest competition to that point in the race, Larson and Blaney made contact racing for third. Blaney retired from the race after leading 54 laps, while Larson continued.

Truex was among six drivers who stayed out during the caution that resulted from the Larson/Blaney incident, the fifth caution of the race, while Harvick restarted eighth after pitting. When the race restarted, Truex took the lead from Logano.

“It was hard racing,” Blaney said. ”I definitely take the blame on that one. I was just trying to side draft hard and the car was kind of light down the frontstretch, there, and it was just hard racing at the end. I got about spun out in one and two on the restart, getting sucked around. We were making some spots back up and just trying to get back up to the front and tried too hard. That stinks. We had a really fast race car and I hate it for REV. The two races they’ve been on our car this year, and we’ve led a bunch of laps in both of them and ended up wrecked. I wish we could get over that hump, but I thought we made a good gain tonight and where our cars need to be.  Hopefully, we can carry that forward into the next upcoming weeks, but it was definitely my fault, just trying too hard. I made contact and it cut my right-front down. I hate I got the 42 (Larson), but it was just hard racing.”

After one more final caution on lap 253 for a multi-car crash that included a hard hit and fire for William Byron and resulted in a 13-minute red flag, Harvick moved up to second on the final restart to battle Truex for the lead.

Matt Kenseth was among the drivers collected in the crash in his return to the Cup Series as part-time driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

“I don’t have any idea what happened with the wreck,” Kenseth said. ”I just saw everybody wrecking and the track was kind of blocked, so I tried to get down towards the grass. This grass is not the new friendly grass with the rain and all it just kind of dug in, and then, I just hit the car in front of me.”

Finishing sixth through 10th were Paul Menard, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch.

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Posted by on May 13, 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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