NASCAR Recap: Harvick Wins at Dover and Advances to Contender Round
Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick needed to win Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway to advance to the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs, and when the pressure was at its highest, Harvick and his No. 4 Chevrolet SS responded with an excellent performance, leading 354 of 400 laps to pick up his third victory of the 2015 season.
The victory gave Harvick his 13th top-two finish of the season and ensured him a spot in the Contender Round of the playoffs. Harvick was in danger of playoff elimination after experiencing two disappointing finishes in the previous races.
“We weren’t in a good situation coming into today, but that’s what this team is made of,” Harvick said. “This is what it’s all about, those big-time moments.”
Six-time series champion and fellow Team Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson was unexpectedly eliminated from the playoffs, after a torn axle seal forced him into the garage for 36 laps, so his team could repair his racecar.
Joining Harvick in the Contender Round will be Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman.
Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, and Clint Boyer were the other drivers–along with Johnson–to be eliminated from the playoffs.
Tony Stewart, who is part-owner of Harvick’s car, congratulated Harvick on the victory by locking hands with him. Stewart announced last week he will be retiring as a full-time driver following the 2016 season.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ playoffs will resume at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10th. The race is scheduled to begin 7pm and will be broadcast by NBC.