Kevin Harvick Wins the Degree V12 300
Pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran hard and fast for 193 laps of Saturday night’s Degree V12 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and then surrendered the lead to the No 33 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick. Earnhardt Jr. had pitted for the last time on Lap 125 and then managed his fuel well enough to make it to Lap 193 but lost pace and ground to the front runners in the process. Earnhardt tried to chase after Harvick but the pace of his car was slower than the other front runners and he was eventually passed by Kyle Busch on lap 194. Kevin Harvick ended up beating Kyle Busch to the line for his second Nationwide Series win of 2009 and the 34th of his career. Kyle Busch padded his Nationwide Series lead to 221 points over Carl Edwards, who finished a lap down in seventh on a fractured right foot he suffered playing Frisbee on Wednesday night.
The No. 18 of Kyle Busch was a little better on the short runs, but after a few laps Harvick and Earnhardt had set the pace, and the race was on. Harvick had a fast car all night long but he conserved his car and waited for his moment like an old pro. Earnhardt’s fuel management strategy almost worked but he couldn’t stay ahead of the speed in the race and had to settle for third place.
It was a great race for the fans as Kyle Busch won the pit road race after the lead cars all pitted for tires and fuel under yellow on Lap 129. Harvick stayed behind Busch until he passed him with 48 laps remaining and then his strength in the long stretches allowed him to build a lead of more than seven seconds over Busch by the time they pitted for the last time on Lap 182. After coming out of the pits Harvick chased down Earnhardt and passed him to take the win in the Degree V12 300.
Brad Keselowski came home fourth, followed by Jeff Burton in fifth and Joey Logano in sixth place. Greg Biffle finished eighth, just ahead of David Ragan in ninth, while Reed Sorenson made a good showing by completing the top ten.
“Image: Zuma Press”