NASCAR: Kevin Harvick leaves it late to win Toyota Owners 400
Last Updated: April 28, 2013 7:58am
Kevin Harvick celebrates after his victory at Richmond
Kevin Harvick secured his first win of the season in a frantic finish to NASCAR's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Harvick darted from seventh to first place in less than a lap, after a late caution caused havoc, and he pulled away to see off the challenge of Clint Bowyer to claim his first win since Phoenix in 2012.
The Chevrolet driver appeared to be chasing in vain as the race came towards its conclusion, with Juan Pablo Montoya appearing to be well on his way to Victory Lane.
But a crash involving Brian Vickers with four laps to go meant an extra set of pit-stops for some of the front-runners, including the leader and Harvick who dropped back behind those who decided against taking on fresh tyres.
That left Jeff Burton running up front ahead of Jamie McMurray and AJ Allmendinger for the two-lap shootout, but they were always going to be vulnerable to the runners who had stopped.
And so it proved as Harvick stormed through the pack of cars, dragging Bowyer and Joey Logano with him, tip-toeing between their rivals who were on worn-out tyres.
But it was Harvick's Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet that proved the strongest of the fast finishers and he crossed the line to secure his 20th Sprint Cup success from Bowyer, Logano and Montoya, with Burton claiming fifth as the best of those who didn't make a late stop.
Carl Edwards finished sixth to move up to second place in the overall standings, 43 points behind Jimmie Johnson who had a frustrating race before coming home in 12th.
"They all went high and I went low. The seas kind of parted there. They didn't get a very good restart, and my car launched," Harvick said.
"I was able to take it three-wide, those guys all drove it in hard, and I was able to get by the next two. I only had one to go by the time I got to the backstretch."