Kevin Harvick led 132 of 195 laps, but had to hold off a hard-charging Kyle Busch in order to come away with a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick had kept the lead following pit stops under yellow at Lap 186 and lined up for the subsequent restart alongside Joey Logano. Logano spun his tires, allowing Harvick and Busch to break away and settle the race themselves.
With six laps left, Busch got a good run on the outside of Harvick through Turns 1 and 2 to take a half-length lead on Harvick down the backstretch. But Harvick held firm on the inside and was able to come back and clear Busch off Turn 4 to complete what would be the race-winning pass.
“We did a great job on pit road,” Harvick said to ESPN in Victory Lane. “We were definitely too tight, and I had to change my approach. I knew Kyle was gonna go for it.
“Three years in a row, we’ve had the dominant car [in this race] and you know, you think something’s gonna go wrong. But we just kept digging and these guys did a great job all weekend.”
Busch finished half a second behind Harvick, with NNS points leader Sam Hornish Jr. in third, Kasey Kahne in fourth, and Kyle Larson in fifth. Logano was unable to recover after his poor final restart, and settled for sixth.
In the NNS championship, Hornish increased his lead over Austin Dillon to 10 points after the latter finished eighth in tonight’s race.