Kevin Harvick resurrects images of ‘The Closer’ with win at Richmond NASCAR race

External News Wire | 08/15/22

Author: Alex Zietlow

Date: August 14, 2022

If it wasn’t clear last weekend at Michigan, it’s clear now: Kevin Harvick is back.

The 46-year-old driver won his second-straight Cup race on Sunday, proving that last weekend’s win was a sign that one of NASCAR’s most accomplished drivers is in top form — and that Harvick, despite a disappointing beginning to 2022, is still worthy of his long-held nickname, “The Closer.”

In his post-race discussion with NBC, fresh off a celebratory burn-out in front of fans at the finish line, Harvick was asked if he saw back-to-back victories in his future prior to Sunday. The win, after all — in a strange way and in this strange season — might’ve even been more unexpected than the victory that broke his 65-race winless streak last week.

But Harvick shrugged and offered a by-the-book response: “I didn’t know,” he said and laughed. “Like I said last week, the cars have been running well week-in and week-out.”

The former Cup Series champion snatched the lead on Lap 335 out of 400, clearing Joey Logano on the outside. (It had been Logano’s race to lose up until then; he’d led 222 laps.)

And once he obtained the lead, he didn’t relinquish it. Chris Buescher took the veteran driver to task down the stretch, but Harvick didn’t make any mistakes, passing and weaving through lapped cars as if it was 2014 again, holding the lead.

He extended his lead to 1.7 seconds at one point, and that lead shrunk with one final push from Christopher Bell, but it was too late: Harvick crossed the finish line first and thus notched his first win at Richmond Raceway in nine years and his 60th Cup series win in his storied career.

“I knew he was coming,” Harvick said of Bell. “But I forgot to shift down the front straightaway. ... I was not paying attention, and he got closer than he should’ve, so I made a mistake there in those last couple laps.”

He won anyway.

Bell finished second in the No. 20 car, Buescher placed third in the No. 17.

The rest of the top-10 earning points in order: Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney.

“We’re just going to keep doing the things that we’re doing right,” Harvick said. “I just think that we have to keep an open mind about things, keep progressing and keep understanding the car, understanding what we could’ve done better today... And just keep doing the same thing over and over.”

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