Kevin Harvick dominated the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, driving Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 OneMain Financial Chevrolet to Victory Lane Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the NASCAR Nationwide Series event from the third position and reported to crew chief Ernie Cope that he was battling an extremely tight-handling condition during the early laps. As the green-flag run progressed, the car’s handling became neutral allowing Harvick to move forward in the running order. Content with the handling of the car, Cope called the two-time Nationwide Series champion to pit road on lap 46 for four fresh tires and fuel. Harvick was scored in the second position for the ensuing restart and took over the lead on lap 64. The RCR driver maintained his position out front until the team’s final four-tire pit stop on lap 155. Varying pit strategies by other teams positioned Harvick sixth for the lap-160 restart, but he returned the No. 33 OneMain Financial Chevrolet to the lead three laps later. The 36-year-old driver went on to lead 127 laps of the 200-lap affair before capturing his fifth Nationwide Series victory at the Fort Worth, Texas-based facility, tying the track record for Nationwide Series wins.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“I couldn’t think of a better way to close out my season in the (NASCAR) Nationwide Series, than with a win. This OneMain Financial team worked hard tonight to keep us out front, and (crew chief) Ernie Cope made some good calls on the pit box. This team has had so many almost-wins this season that they really deserve this win tonight.”