Kevin Harvick Wins Back To Back Cup Series Races

“Looking at the competition right now, you have to like Toyota’s chances. But look out, (Kevin) Harvick was second to (Denny) Hamlin in the spring race. If you doubt Harvick, you don’t know him very well.”

While Toyota didn’t do too badly in the race, the Ford of Kevin Harvick came to play. It seems just a few weeks ago many were wondering if Harvick could even make the playoffs. He was below the cut line and he hadn’t been very sporty.

I guess all it takes are back to back wins to right that ship. Harvick not only looked sporty the team had the car where it needed to be once the track cooled down. The track was hot and greasy early in the race but cooled down as it got later and clouds cover moved in. Suddenly, race leader Joey Logano couldn’t keep his car turning the way it was and bungo, here comes The Closer.

While there are some who don’t like to watch a strategy race at a medium track that races like a short track, you have to admit it made for an interesting race. Pit strategy was the name of the game and left only 11 cars on the lead lap.

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Ross Chastain started on the front row with Kyle Larson and won Stage 1. Then along came the Ford of Joey Logano who led a race high 222 laps. Chastain slipped into the field and then

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/NASCAR Media)

had all kinds of issues with his aggressive driving style. He eventually got into Kyle Busch in an ill-advised 3 wide move and that pretty much made up the rest of his day finishing 2 laps down.

Christopher Bell and Chris Buescher made some noise as they chased down Logano and nearly got to Harvick. Bell is in the playoffs by virtue of his win but Buescher was needs a win to advance. The late race moves to the front by these younger drivers was fun to watch.

The biggest story of the race though was Martin Truex, Jr. who had some speed early on but totally lost the handling on his car until it was too late. He managed a Top 10 but the also winless Ryan Blaney still managed to stay in front of MTJ in points. With just 2 races left, things are going to get even tighter for the Blaney/Truex Race Off.

Blaney is arguably slightly better overall on road courses the past 16 races but Truex has a win at The Glen and used to be a decent road course driver himself. Neither are road course aces, so it may come down to who can stay out of the most trouble at The Glen and Daytona.

Good on ya, mate

  • Kevin Harvick (P1) is now walking the walk and talking the talk
  • Christopher Bell (P2) is starting to show some strength
  • Chris Buescher (P3) is the best Roush car right now
  • Denny Hamlin (P4) had a decent race and led 22 laps
  • Chase Elliott (P5) had to drive up through the field and quietly got a Top 5
  • Joey Logano (P6) was on rails until the weather cooled
  • Martin Truex, Jr. (7) needed more than a Top 10
  • Aric Almirola (P8) had a decent run but needs to win to advance
  • Kyle Busch (P9) had a run in with Ross Chastain
  • Ryan Blaney (P10) couldn’t get the car where he wanted it but still managed a decent points outcome

So you had a bad day

  • Oh man, where to begin…..
  • Ty Gibbs (P36) had an engine expire
  • Erik Jones (P34) wrecked
  • Alex Bowman (P20) started 5th but that was the highlight of his day
  • Ross Chastain (P18) looked good until the first round of pit stops and then he couldn’t stay out of the way
  • Brad Keselowski (P15) started 8th but dropped well off in performance compared to teammate Buescher
  • Kyle Larson (P4) started P1 but never showed the speed he needed to keep that
  • William Byron (P11) can at least say he was the last car on the lead lap

Next up: Watkins Glen

The last road course of the regular season and second to last for the year. The list of road course winners in varied this season with Tyler Reddick winning the last two. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson have been the dominant road course drivers the last several years but neither has been that strong this year and neither have won a road course race. Larson is the defending race winner and Truex led 34 laps before finishing third. MTJ finished second to Chase Elliott in 2020 and 2019 after his win in 2018. If he can perform to that level again, he may force Blaney to beat him at Daytona.

The numbers favor Elliott and Larson but you have to watch out for AJ, Reddick, Byron, Buescher and Bell this week. It would not surprise me to see someone new in victory lane in what will be a must win for several teams.

Kurt Busch is still suffering from concussion symptoms. Let’s hope he is on the mend and that we’ll see back in a car during the playoffs.

We’d love to read your comments and observations about the weekend’s racing at Richmond.  Leave ’em below.  And you can read my other articles by clicking here.

(Featured Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/NASCAR Media)

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