Hard-Earned Top-10 for Harvick at Atlanta

Race Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-105):

●  Kevin Harvick started seventh and finished 24th.

●  By just the second tour around the 1.54-mile oval, Harvick had the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang in second place.

●  Kyle Larson passed Harvick on lap 10 to take second. Harvick ran in third through the competition caution on lap 25.

●  Harvick pitted for four tires and fuel with a track bar adjustment on lap 27.

●  Just before taking the green for the lap-31 restart, Harvick had to pit to replace a flat left-rear tire. A broken valve stem was the culprit.

●  Harvick rejoined the race in 32nd and was on the tail end of the lead lap.

●  “Chattering the front tires, which is absolutely absurd at Atlanta,” said Harvick on lap 51.

●  Made scheduled, green flag pit stop on lap 64 for four tires and fuel with a right-rear chassis adjustment.

●  Had climbed back to 26th by lap 75 and cracked the top-25 on lap 86 with pass of Austin Cindric.

●  “We’re going to have to get some grip in the car. As soon as I turn the wheel, it snaps sideways,” said Harvick on lap 92.

●  Finished the stage in 24th, the fifth car one lap down to the leaders.

●  Pitted for four tires and fuel, along with a track bar and left-rear chassis adjustment, upon the conclusion of the stage.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 106-210):

●  Harvick started 23rd and finished 20th.

●  Harvick chose the top line for the restart and said, “It’s terrible on the top getting going.”

●  The caution came out shortly thereafter for Kurt Busch getting into the turn one wall, and Harvick lined up 22nd for the lap-119 restart. He was third in line among the lap-down cars.

●  “It’s definitely better – just need more grip,” said Harvick while holding steady in 22nd on lap 152.

●  Made scheduled, green flag pit stop on lap 160 for four tires and fuel.

●  Harvick was 21st and the first car one lap down by lap 164, eligible for the “Lucky Dog” if the caution flag waved.

●  Cracked the top-20 on lap 171 when Brad Keselowski pitted.

●  Finished the stage in 20th, the fifth car one lap down with only 14 cars on the lead lap. “Still need more grip,” said Harvick.

●  Pitted for four tires and fuel at the end of the stage. Only adjustments were to tire pressures.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 211-325):

●  Harvick started 19th and finished 10th.

●  Began the final stage as one of six cars one lap down.

●  Fortuitous caution on lap 221 allowed Harvick to take wave-around and get his lap back. Restarted 17th on lap 225.

●  Cracked the top-15 with pass of Michael McDowell on lap 231.

●  Kyle Busch passed Harvick on lap 234 to send the Hunt Brothers Pizza driver back to 16th, but Harvick regained the position on lap 239 by getting around Joey Logano.

●  Passed Ryan Newman for 14th on lap 259.

●  Made scheduled, green flag pit stop on lap 268 for four tires and fuel.

●  Thanks to quick work by his pit crew, Harvick climbed to 12th by lap 270.

●  Harvick passed Ricky Stenhouse Jr., for 11th on lap 303 and then grabbed 10th from Matt DiBenedetto on lap 321.



●  Harvick earned his fifth top-10 of the season and his series-leading 16th top-10 in 31 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta.

●  This was Harvick’s seventh straight top-10 at Atlanta. He hasn’t finished outside the top-10 at the 1.54-mile oval since a lone 19th-place finish in August 2014.

●  Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 14 of his last 17 starts at Atlanta, a run that began with a seventh-place drive in March 2008.

●  This was Harvick’s second straight top-10. He finished sixth in last week’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

●  Ryan Blaney won the Folds of Honor 500 to score his fifth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Atlanta. His margin over second-place Kyle Larson was 2.083 seconds.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 25 laps.

●  Only 14 of the 39 drivers in the Folds of Honor 500 finished on the lead lap.

●  Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Atlanta with a 43-point advantage over second-place Larson.


Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City Dirt Race on Sunday, March 28 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.