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 talks about his NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot and reveals what he's most excited about with the 2016 class of inductees.
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.
Complete news and notes about all 43 drivers and their Coca-Cola 600 results RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid after Charlotte 1. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Sticky feet didn't slow down Edwards, who stretched his fuel window to claim his first Charlotte 600 victory while pretty much locking up a spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . " NASCAR.com goes 1-on-1 with Edwards in Victory Lane 2. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle turned in his best showing of the year, starting fourth and earning runner-up honors in the season's longest race. " Biffle reflects on runner-up finish 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native overcame an early-race pit miscue to resume running in the top 10 by Lap 100 and earn his seventh top-five of the year. He now ranks fourth in the points. " Dale Jr. looks at top-five finish at Charlotte 4. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole winner closed 12 spots in the final 40 laps after making an unscheduled pit stop with less than 100 laps to go for a loose wheel. " Kenseth talks about late gamble 5. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Before a late-race fuel gamble didn't work out, Truex led a race-high 131 laps and radioed to his team, "I'm feeling like Superman for a few laps anyway." " Truex: 'It hurts to come home fifth' 6. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman earned the beneficiary of the free pass during the final caution period and closed 11 places in the final 40 laps. 7. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . New father Keselowski told his team early that his "ride quality is on par with Kentucky." He won at Kentucky last year, but had to settle for a top 10 (his eighth of the season) due to the fuel mileage game. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView Premium today 8. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin, winner of the recent Sprint All-Star race, was pacing the 600 field with a migraine when a loose wheel prompted an unscheduled pit stop with 38 laps to go. " Hamlin visits media center after trip to infield care center 9. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick recorded his 11th top-10 result in 12 appearances this season to extend his grip on the points lead 10. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch lined up 14th and posted the fastest lap of the race on Lap 143 (188.153 mph), which was one of the 118 laps he led on Sunday. 11. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . In his first points race since the Daytona crash, Busch reassured his team he could run the full 600 miles. "Tell Erik (Jones, replacement driver) I feel good," Busch radioed his team. "10-4," crew chief Adam Stevens responded. "His bedtime's in about 20 minutes anyhow." " Busch passes big test at Charlotte 12. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was tagged near the halfway point for speeding on pit road, but rallied to earn the beneficiary of the free pass and run inside the top 10 with 50 laps to go. 13. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . The birthday boy shook off debris in the first 24 laps to lead twice for 17 circuits on Sunday. 14. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard quietly toured Charlotte’s 1.5-mile oval en route to his eighth top-15 result of the season. 15. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . After pacing the field to green in the Indy 500, Gordon lined up 18th in his Coca-Cola 600 finale and had a decent run until a loose wheel impacted his day. " Gordon leads Indy field to green 16. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon drove a new chassis to his best 1.5-mile result of the season. 17. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola earned the beneficiary of the free pass on the Lap 230 caution and found himself in position again for the free pass in the closing laps. 18. Chase Elliott , No. 25 Chevrolet. Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott, in his third Cup outing and first at a 1.5-miler, qualified 28th and mostly ran inside the top 25, despite dealing with a radio communication issue during the race. 19. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The two-time Charlotte winner had a ho hum day, running middle of the pack in his 26th appearance at the 1.5-mile track. 20. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's frustration sparked a late-race decision to gamble on fuel mileage. "Might as well (gamble)," Bowyer radioed crew chief Brian Pattie. "Nothing to lose." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView Premium today 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart was running a lap down when he got into the back of Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., who slid up the track ahead of him on Lap 302. 22. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick had to make two pit stops during the third caution flag after receiving damage from a dust-up with Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott on pit road. 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears battled a lack of air conditioning and tried to stay cool during the season's longest race by taking ice bags during pit stops. 24. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish couldn't climb back from an early handling issue although he later ran lap times comparable to those inside the top 15. 25. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson qualified ninth, marking his first top-10 start at Charlotte, and ran as high as eighth before quietly fading. 26. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Encouraged early by crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr. not to overdrive it, Bowman went on to post his best intermediate track finish of the year. 27. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne's tough night was further impacted when he hit the wall on Lap 230 to bring out the fourth caution flag and halt 89 laps of green-flag racing. 28. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt liked his car during practice and ultimately turned in his best 2015 result on a 1.5-mile track. 29. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger required an unscheduled pit stop around Lap 160 when a hot dog wrapper stuck to his grille and raised temps. 30. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing . McDowell spent the night looking for speed as he worked with his team on the handling of the No. 95 Ford. 31. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Spotter Tony Raines told Moffitt his car was faster than those ahead of him, but grip was a persistent problem. 32. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett, who dealt with a tight-handling condition early on Sunday, spun on the backstretch on Lap 328 to bring out the caution flag. 33. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland, who honored The Unknown Soldier with his car, led Lap 28 after choosing not to pit during the competition caution. 34. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto, making his third 1.5-mile start and his first at Charlotte, complained early of a loose-handling condition. 35. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise lined up 38th and got behind early, but still held on to post his best Charlotte result in his last four outings at the 1.5-mile track. 36. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. Making his Charlotte debut, Kennedy improved upon his earlier intermediate result this season at Texas Motor Speedway . 37. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse cracked the top 10 with 70 laps to go, but watched his second top-10 of the season slip through his fingers after he hit the wall eight laps later 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley was mired in traffic after being penalized during the competition caution when a crew member went over the wall too early. 3 9. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill followed the race on Sunday by physically running 14 miles to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in support of the Folds of Honor Foundation. " Cassill completes unique Memorial Day weekend double 40. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson spun on Lap 90 and saved his car in a move reminiscent of Kansas Speedway , where he was victorious. But he wasn't able to save it a second time after he spun on Lap 274 and collided with the inside pit wall. " Second spin crunches Johnson's No. 48 41. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . In the final third of the race, Ragan cited his water temperatures were fluctuating and ultimately was sidelined by an engine issue. 42. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney cracked the top 11 on Sunday, but his strong run was halted on Lap 282 when his engine blew up. 43. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier, in his third Charlotte start, retreated to the garage after getting into the wall between Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 136. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule