Harvick Takes Rather Calm Sprint Unlimited

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

Kevin Harvick made it to victory lane Saturday Night in the Sprint Unlimited after doing what he had to do all race. He stayed up front and remained in control of his destiny all-night which propelled him to victory. Harvick stayed out of trouble by staying up front and he learned a whole lot about these new cars on the high banks of Daytona. The race, however, didn’t live up to the carnage filled hype which many expected.

The first segment started out pretty wild when many drivers made their way to the front and one little mistake took out five cars. On lap 15, Tony Stewart came down in front of Marcos Ambrose but, Stewart wasn’t clear and Stewart half-slid on the apron before saving his car. The drivers behind Stewart checked-up and they started bumping one another which ultimately led to a wreck. Jimmie Johnson slowed up and got bumped from behind by Denny Hamlin which made Johnson spin in front of the pack and collect many other cars. Kyle Busch had nowhere to go and ran into the wrecking Johnson and Hamlin. Jeff Gordon was also tied up in the wreck and Mark Martin got turned up into the wall while trying to avoid the whole incident.

The wreck sent five cars behind the wall including Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Gordon, Hamlin and Martin. Twelve cars now remained in the race and at this point in the race; we thought it would be a survival mission to get to the finish. After the first segment, Tony Stewart led followed by Kenseth, Harvick, Edwards and Kahne.

The fans voted for a mandatory four tire pit-stop and after segment one concluded and the teams got to shine on pit road. Kevin Harvick’s team did the best work and got their driver off pit road first. Harvick couldn’t hold the lead for long once the second segment began and Stewart made his way to the front after one lap was completed in the second segment. Harvick did fight back for the lead before the conclusion of the segment and after the second segment came to a close, Harvick was out front.

Elimination was not voted on by the fans so no cars were eliminated from the race after the second segment. The twelve remaining cars in the race had one more twenty-lap segment to battle it out for the win. Only the most daring driver would survive to reach victory lane after the conclusion of the Sprint Unlimited.

The third segment was quite low-key due to the fact that the drivers just hung around in a single file line until the final lap. Joey Logano got a push from Matt Kenseth in turns one and two on the final lap and by the time they reached the backstretch, they were going after the lead. Tony Stewart denied them a glimpse at the lead while going down the backstretch when Stewart pulled down in front of the duo. That allowed Greg Biffle to get up behind Harvick as the pack entered turn three. Biffle was there and was ready to make a move but, he couldn’t reach Harvick in time and Harvick crossed the finish line first to claim victory.

Happy Harvick had survived the first race with the Gen 6 car and got to celebrate in a Budweiser bath in victory lane. Harvick said it was a “Great way to start off SpeedWeeks” and indeed it was. Harvick now knows what it feels like to win in the new car and that could give Harvick a leg up as we head into the week leading up to the Daytona 500. The race didn’t reach the hype level many expected but, it gave some interesting insight of what this new Gen 6 car could bring in the upcoming season. Only seven days remain until the Daytona 500.

By Jason Schultz

Results via Jayski.com

1) #29-Harvick, 75 laps run, 40 laps led
2) #16-Biffle, 75, 2
3) #22-Logano, 75
4) #14-Stewart, 75, 5
5) #20-Kenseth, 75, 26
6) #43-Almirola, 75
7) #5-Kahne, 75
8) #88-Eanrhardt Jt., 75
9) #56-Truex Jr., 75, 2
10) #42-Montoya, 75
11) #9-Ambrose, 75
12) #99-Edwards, 75, 1
13) #78-Busch, 17, accident
14) #48-Johnson, 15, accident
15) #11-Hamlin, 15, accident
16) #18-Busch, 15, accident
17) #24-Gordon, 15, accident
18) #55-Martin, 15, accident
19) #32-Labonte, 3, out

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