Harvick matches Hamlin in season wins with Brickyard 400 victory

Kevin Harvick, thanks to a late Denny Hamlin crash, wins back-to-back Brickyard 400’s. It is his fourth win of the season and 53rd of his career.

For a third straight weekend, a NASCAR Cup Series race was delayed to the weather, and again, it was lightning as the suspect who halted the race.

The race began an hour after its original scheduled time. Pole-sitter Joey Logano held serve for the early portion of the race prior to the competition caution. Martin Truex Jr. would have mechanical issues early as he had to do run a diagnostic test during the early run and the car, according to Truex, had an error message on his engine control unit. He would fade back to 28th place after starting eighth.

Truex’s day would become even more disastrous as he was involved in a scary pit road incident that took place towards the back half of the field, taking out multiple cars and injuring Ryan Blaney’s rear tire changer Zach Price. Price would be OK but was taken out on a stretcher. Among those involved were Brennan Poole, Justin Allgaier, who filled in for Jimmie Johnson after Johnson tested positive for COVID-19, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, Corey LaJoie, Christopher Bell and Ryan Preece.

On the restart, following an 11-minute red flag for the pit road accident, Kevin Harvick would take the lead from Logano. Harvick’s teammate, Aric Almirola, was running third but would come down pit road because of a vibration.

A caution would come out on lap 40 as Ryan Newman slammed the wall in turn three.

William Byron, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon stayed out on the ensuing restart, and they would finish in the top three, respectively, at the green checkered flag. Byron earned his second stage win of the season.

On the stage two restart, Chase Elliott would take the lead. He would go on to pull away from the field and lead the next 24 laps. Matt DiBenedetto, who was running second, held up Denny Hamlin and Harvick for multiple laps and allowed Elliott to pull away.

On lap 74, Jones blew a tire in turn three and suffered a violent hit into the outside wall. He would exit the No. 20 car under his own power.

On the restart with 18 to go in stage two, Byron would play the pit strategy game once again. He took two tires but would cut a left-front tire down the backstretch.

Harvick would take the lead on the restart with 13 to go in the stage, but once again, the field failed to complete a green flag lap as Blaney would slide up the track and spin in turn three.

Harvick would hold the lead on the restart to win stage two. It was his second stage win of 2020.

At the start of the final stage, it would be Harvick and Hamlin battling for the lead. These two swapped one-two finishes at Pocono last weekend. On the cycle of green flag pit stops, Hamlin came down a lap prior to Harvick. Harvick’s crew would be a tad slow on the right side to allow Hamlin to cycle ahead of Harvick as Harvick exited pit road.

With 29 to go, Alex Bowman slammed the wall in a similar fashion that Jones did to bring out a caution. Drivers such as Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch had not pit prior to the caution.

It looked as though Hamlin would hold off Harvick for his fifth win of the season. However, with under 10 to go, Hamlin would cut a right front tire in turn one and slam the wall hard.

On the overtime restart, Harvick would surge to the lead and hold off Kenseth for his fourth win of 2020.

Kenseth’s second-place finish was his best since winning at Phoenix back in the Fall of 2017. Almirola, Keselowski and Cole Custer rounded out the top five, which is a career-best finish for the rookie.

Kyle Busch finished sixth. Michael McDowell scores a second top-10 finish in three races with a seventh-place run. Rookie Tyler Reddick scored an eighth-place finish. Bubba Wallace finished ninth, and Logano finished 10th.

Austin Dillon, who was having a nice run all day, was cleaned out by DiBenedetto on the final lap in turn three to drop to an 18th-place finish.

Post-race stats:

  • Aric Almirola scored his fifth-consecutive top-five finish, which is the most top fives he has had in a single season
  • Bubba Wallace matched his season-high in top-10 finishes with his eighth-place run
  • Spire Motorsports scored their second top-20 finish as a team with Ross Chastain finishing 17th
  • Gaunt Brothers Racing scored their sixth top-20 as a team with Daniel Suarez finishing 20th
  • JJ Yeley scored his best finish since Daytona last July with a 21st-place finish
  • BJ McLeod scored his best finish since the 2019 Daytona 500 after a 22nd-place run
  • Quin Houff scored a career-best 23rd-place finish
  • Josh Bilicki scored a career-best 25th-place finish

The Cup Series will return to action at Kentucky Speedway next Sunday.

Full results:

Check back for driver points.

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