Kevin Harvick talks about his NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot and reveals what he's most excited about with the 2016 class of inductees.
Polesitter holds off Kevin Harvick on final 10-lap segment RELATED: Full race results " SHOP: Winner's gear CONCORD, N.C. -- With a deft move with three laps left in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway , Denny Hamlin delivered the first victory in the non-points showcase event to Joe Gibbs Racing and to Toyota. As he drove into Turn 1 to start Lap 97, with Kevin Harvick glued to his bumper and ready to make a run at the $1 million first prize, Hamlin moved up a lane in the corner and took Harvick's line away, causing Harvick ’s No. 4 Chevrolet to lose momentum. “It was more defense than anything, but it turned into offense for me," Hamlin said. "He ( Harvick ) kept getting closer and closer, and eventually he gets to that right rear quarter panel, and your race is done. Initially, I was looking in my mirror, and I knew it was going to be a defensive move to take his line. "But I was just going to have to do something different, because I was starting to lose time. My laps time were dropping off, and I just had to do something different to try to salvage a win, and that was obviously the key move for us." Harvick didn't disagree with that assessment. "I had committed to the center of the corner and just really lost the front of the car up the race track, had to get out of the throttle," Harvick explained. "As soon as Denny moved up that one time it kind of took the air off. ... Once I got to the middle of the corner the car just washed all the way up the race track and I had to lift way out of the gas to get the car back off the wall." If that was the on-track move that made the difference, the real Saturday night heroes were the crew members on Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota, who gained five spots for their driver during mandatory four-tire pits stops before the race’s final 10-lap segment. Hamlin led the field to the green for the final segment and stayed in front the rest of the way, beating Harvick to the finish line by .823 seconds. Kurt Busch ran third, followed by Jeff Gordon (making his final All-Star appearance), Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch , who showed excellent speed in his first competition since breaking his right leg and left foot in an XFINITY Series race at Daytona on Feb. 21. Brad Keselowski took the lead after the first segment, thanks to a two-tire call by crew chief Paul Wolfe. Though Kurt Busch started the second segment with four fresh tires, Keselowski was able to keep the No, 41 Chevrolet at bay throughout the run. Kurt Busch led one lap during the battle, nosing ahead at the stripe, but Keselowski pinned him down on the inside through Turns 1 and 2 and regained the top spot. Ultimately, Keselowski finished .349 seconds ahead of Busch in segment No. 2. Both Keselowski and Busch took four tires between the second and third segments, and Keselowski led every lap en route to winning the third segment. Kevin Harvick got past Busch for second with four laps left. But Kurt Busch restarted fifth to begin segment No. 4 and split the middle with a bold move into Turn 1. Three laps into the run, Busch passed Denny Hamlin for the lead, with Hamlin suffering the consequences of a two-tire track-position call that put him on the front row for the start of the segment. Keeping Harvick a safe distance behind him, Busch won the fourth segment by 1.693 seconds over his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, and the cars entered pit road during the caution before the final 10-lap shootout in order of average finish over the first four segments. The top five entering the pits were Keselowski, Busch, Kasey Kahne , Harvick and Jeff Gordon , but Hamlin was first off pit road from stall No. 1, and Keselowski drew a speeding penalty that dropped him to the back of the field for the start of segment No. 5. "I knew that was the race, and I went for it," said Keselowski, who sped up in the final timed segment in an effort to beat Hamlin off put road. That left Hamlin and Busch on the front row for the restart, with Harvick and Kahne behind them. Notes: Kahne passed Hamlin, the pole winner on Lap 15 and went on to win the first segment. … Danica Patrick took her car behind the wall with engine issues on lap 58 but returned to the track during segment No. 4, having lost 32 laps for repairs. … Greg Biffle , who transferred into the All-Star race from Friday night’s Sprint Showdown, brushed the Turn 4 wall twice during the first segment and was never a factor thereafter. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Two-time 2015 race winner: 'I feel like we're competitive every week' CONCORD, N.C. – Kevin Harvick didn't win Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway , and the Stewart-Haas Racing driver wasn't leading at the end of any segment. But that doesn't mean the defending Sprint Cup Series champion doesn't like his chances heading into next weekend's Coca-Cola 600 (May 24, 6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte. Given his ability to thread his way through traffic throughout the 110-lap non-points event, it’s no wonder. Harvick , already twice a winner this season and once again the series points leader, finished second in Saturday's race, his No. 4 Chevrolet able to work its way around everyone save for the Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin . "I kind of put us in a hole in qualifying," Harvick said. "We were able to get through traffic; they made some really good changes throughout the night to get the car where it really needed to be. "I was able to move around the race track and find a groove that worked for me." Harvick started at the back of the 20-car field, but wasted no time advancing. He was inside the top 10 by the end of the first segment and challenging for the lead by the end of the second. Solid work by the team, led by crew chief Rodney Childers, allowed Harvick to maintain his position on pit road and unlike a few other key players, the team ended the night penalty-free. "I feel like we're competitive every week," he said. "Tonight … we were able to make it up into the top 10. Then they made some great adjustments on the car and we were able to drive through the top five cars and pass them. "That's an accomplishment … where we're at with the cars, how you have to race them, the things that are happening. If you can pass, that's a huge advantage, something I feel like they did a really good job with our car in making it drivable." Harvick is a two-time winner of the 600 (2011, '13), the series’ longest event, and won the fall race, the Bank of America 500 , last year as well. Six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ) has won three of the four points races held on intermediate (1.5-mile) tracks this year. Harvick has finished second to Johnson in all three – and he won the fourth, at Las Vegas. The team's 1.5-mile program obviously remains as strong as it was a year ago, if not better. Passing was at a premium during the All-Star event, but Harvick managed to do his share. "You got to have your car right," he said. "The restarts are really tough because everybody's got so much throttle, you're so close to sliding the nose. "If you move up too far, the back will come out from underneath you because everybody's got so much throttle on the car, so it makes it tough to pass until you get to 10, 12 laps into the run." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kevin Harvick discusses Denny Hamlin's race winning move in the final laps of the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NASCAR.com's Costner Merrifield recaps the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway where Denny Hamlin holds off Kevin Harvick to grab the checkers and win the one million dollar check.
Strategy play to stay on older tires late pays off for six-time Cup champ RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Winner's gear KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Thanks to a brief but wild Kansas spring storm and the long delay it produced, Jimmie Johnson on Sunday became the first Sprint Cup driver to win a race on Mother's Day since 2007. Johnson, who is pursuing a record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this season, held off Kevin Harvick over the final six laps to win Sunday morning's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway . Johnson's victory -- which was recorded just after midnight local time because of a delay of 2 hours and 16 minutes -- was his third of the season and his third at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval. "It was a long, hard night," Johnson, who led just 10 laps and who spun out unassisted early in the race, said in Victory Lane. "Once we got up front, we were able to hang on." Reminded about what day it was when he finally took the checkered flag, Johnson said, "I just want to wish Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. My mother and especially my wife Chani (Johnson, wife), hopefully she is still awake. I wish she was here. I wish my girls were here too, but I will be home tonight and we will have some fun tomorrow." Harvick , who led 53 laps, finished second in his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Third was Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr . Fourth was another Hendrick driver, Jeff Gordon , while pole-sitter Joey Logano was fifth in a Team Penske Ford. The victory was the 73rd of the six-time champion's career. It came thanks to some late-race strategizing by teams who had cars and drivers at the front of the field. Harvick appeared to be headed toward his third victory of the season as the laps wound down after he took the lead on a restart lap with 55 laps to go. The defending series champion had a lead of over 1 second with 14 laps to go and nobody appeared fast enough to close that gap let alone get around him. But with 12 laps to go, Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s Roush Fenway Racing Ford clipped the outside wall to bring out the final caution. Harvick and all but four others -- Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon -- pitted as they were iffy on fuel. Harvick also opted to take two right-side tires. After the restart with six to go, the race became a three-driver affair as Johnson, Earnhardt and Harvick , who restarted sixth, edged away from the field. The decision by Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus turned out to be a winner – even though they had less rubber than did Harvick . Harvick never got close enough to Johnson to take a final shot at a pass. Johnson said the decision to not pit was a split-second, gut-feeling kind of thing and it was mostly his. "I could tell he (crew chief Chad Knaus) was having a hard time making the decision," Johnson said. "I'm kind of running through the events in my mind. We have two wins, we are locked in the Chase, and we are here to win a race, let's gamble. Let's go for it. Sure enough it paid off. A few more laps I think the No. 4 ( Harvick ) would have had me. He was awfully strong. Obviously being on right side tires would have been an advantage for him. We had just enough time to get this Lowe's Chevrolet to Victory Lane. Just very proud of the team and the effort that has gone into it. We have great race cars. I wish we would qualify a little better on Friday's that would make life a lot easier for us." Harvick said he wasn't mad about his team's decision to pit. "I've been on the other side of this deal where the cars aren't running good and you don't have a chance to win," he said. "We won a championship on pit calls and tires and everything fell our way. We've had a lot of things go our way and we've had a lot of things work." Harvick did insist, however, he had the faster car regardless of the outcome. "He wasn't that strong," Harvick said of Johnson. "He was just trying to run right in front of our car so for those first few laps when you're pushing like that it really takes the air off the front of the car and it gets the chatter in the front end and it snaps around. But that was the strategy they took and it worked out for them." Perhaps the most bummed driver as a result of the finish was Furniture Row Racing 's Martin Truex Jr . His No. 78 Chevrolet was clearly the fastest on the track for the vast majority of the race. It led a race-best 95 laps. But his team felt it needed to pit for fuel during the final caution. On the restart, it became obvious they had made the wrong call. Truex finished ninth. "We should have either stayed out or took new tires," Truex said. "We probably did the worst thing you could have done there with just staying out and getting gas only because we ended up being the last guy with no tires. Everybody else behind us had two and they ate us up on the restart." MORE: Video recap " Dale discusses Hamlin incident FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule All-time premier series wins Rank Driver Wins 1. Richard Petty 200 2. David Pearson 105 3. Jeff Gordon 92 4t. Bobby Allison 84 4t. Darrell Waltrip 84 6. Cale Yarborough 83 7. Dale Earnhardt 76 8. Jimmie Johnson* 73 9. Rusty Wallace 55 10. Lee Petty 54 *200 top-5 finishes is 12th all time *300 top-10 finishes is 17th all time
Jimmie Johnson holds off Kevin Harvick in the final laps at Kansas Speedway to win the SpongeBob SquarePants 400.
Kevin Harvick talks at the NASCAR Hall of Fame about the special paint scheme he will run at Darlington Raceway and about honoring the pioneers of NASCAR.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick each talk about what went right and wrong at Kansas Speedway as the trio all finished inside the top 10.
Reigning Sprint Cup champ to help determine seventh class of enshrinees