Kevin Harvick tames the Lady in Black on NASCAR’s return to racing

Kevin Harvick found victory in the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway earning his 50th win in the series.

Brad Keselowski would start on the pole based upon a random draw. Kyle Busch would have to drop to the back due to failing inspection twice.

As the field took the green flag, trouble would strike early as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crashed off Turn 2, knocking the No. 47 out of the race early on.

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Keselowski would remain unchallenged before a competition caution on Lap 30 would bunch the field back up. Alex Bowman would surge to the front, passing the No. 2. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and William Byron followed right behind the No. 88.

As tire wear kicked in, some drivers would march their way forward. Denny Hamlin would catch Byron, while Johnson would inherit the race lead over Bowman. Johnson’s lead would be short-lived.

On the final lap of the first stage, Johnson would try to lap Chris Buescher but the two collided off Turn 2, putting Johnson into the inside wall. After Johnson’s wreck, Byron would win Stage One. Hamlin, Bowman and Harvick would round out the rest of the top five while Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Newman, and Chase Elliott would round the rest of the top 10.

Harvick would beat the leaders off pit lane, launching the No. 4 to the front. Elliott and Ryan Newman were penalized for speeding on pit road.

On the restart to begin Stage Two Harvick would hold off Bowman to keep the race lead. Byron would smack the Turn 3 wall, and with an injured car would later spin into Turn 1 to bring out the yellow.

Harvick would once again lead the field to the green with Kurt Busch and Bowman rounding out the Top 3. Daniel Suarez spun out on Lap 124 due to a right rear tire going down, creating the fifth caution of the day.

Kyle Busch hit the wall, giving the No. 18 substantial damage to the right side.

Parts of the Turn 3 banner would fly onto Hamlin’s car but he shortly got it off the front of his grille by drafting Bowyer. However, Reddick would have the remnants of the banner fly onto his Chevy. A yellow would fly due to the loose Blue-Emu wrapping on the Turn 3 wall.

Harvick led on the restart with a push from Martin Truex Jr.

On Lap 172 Christopher Bell would spin off Turn 4 to bring out another yellow. Keselowski inherited the race lead after pit stops while Harvick would lose seven positions on pit lane.

Keselowski would win Stage Two with Bowman, Truex, Harvick, and Bowyer rounding the top five. Kurt Busch, Ryan Preece, Joey Logano, Hamlin, and Erik Jones would round out the top 10.

The No. 2 would bring the field together to begin the final stage with Bowman and Truex in hot pursuit. Matt Kenseth’s car would come to life as the No. 42 would move upward into the top 10. Buescher would spin out on the front stretch to bring out the caution.

Harvick would win the race off pit road with Keselowski and Truex behind him.

During the green flag stint, Kyle Busch had issues with his M&M’s Toyota, bringing the car down pit lane, knocking him out of a top 10 spot.

With 41 laps to go Newman would spin out in Turn 1 to bring out another yellow.

The No. 4 would continue to hold his ground on the rest of the field and there would be no challenges from the opposition as Harvick would cruise on to win at Darlington.

Results:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Alex Bowman
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Martin Truex Jr.
  7. Tyler Reddick
  8. Erik Jones
  9. John Hunter Nemechek
  10. Matt Kenseth
  11. Austin Dillon
  12. Aric Almirola
  13. Brad Keselowski
  14. Matt DiBenedetto
  15. Ryan Newman
  16. Ryan Blaney
  17. Clint Bowyer
  18. Joey Logano
  19. Ty Dillon
  20. Ryan Preece
  21. Bubba Wallace
  22. Cole Custer
  23. Michael McDowell
  24. Christopher Bell
  25. Daniel Suarez – one lap down
  26. Kyle Busch – one lap down
  27. Brennan Poole – one lap down
  28. JJ Yeley – two laps down
  29. Reed Sorenson – two laps down
  30. Joey Gase – four laps down
  31. Corey LaJoie – four laps down
  32. Chris Buescher – six laps down
  33. Timmy Hill – seven laps down
  34. Josh Bilicki – seven laps down
  35. William Byron – 14 laps down
  36. Quin Houff – OUT
  37. Garrett Smithley – OUT
  38. Jimmie Johnson – OUT
  39. BJ McLeod – OUT
  40. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – OUT

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