Harvick wins Nationwide race at Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Kevin Harvick overcame a pair of horrendous pit stops to win the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Harvick led 83 of the 200 laps Saturday, but had to rally after his crew cost him several spots on pit road.
“You look like a bunch of idiots on pit road,” he told his Kevin Harvick Inc. crew after their first slow stop.
Harvick had to methodically work his way back through the field, and found himself trailing leader Denny Hamlin late in the race. Once past Hamlin, Harvick coasted to his second career win at Las Vegas and 35th in the Nationwide Series.
“I get mad, and they know how I am and what I expect of them,” Harvick said in Victory Lane. “But I learned a long time ago you can only gripe about it for so long, and then you’ve got to go back and drive the car.”
Hamlin was second, followed by Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers.
Danica Patrick finished 36th in her third and final NASCAR race before she takes a four-month hiatus to return to IndyCar racing.
She wrecked about halfway through the race when she ran into the lapped car of Michael McDowell. She had just pitted and was on fresh tires, and McDowell said he misjudged her closing rate.
“I guess she was coming out on new tires, and the closing rate was so fast,” McDowell said. “I tried to give the outside, I saw her coming into it and I closed the door. It was completely 100 percent my fault. I hate it for everyone at JR Motorsports. Like I said, I take 100 percent responsibility.”
Patrick, who had climbed as high as third earlier in the race, was livid on the radio and uttered a few profanities immediately after the accident. She finally asked crew chief Tony Eury Jr. where to take her battered car. The hood folded like an accordion, she complained she couldn’t even see where she was going.
“It’s gonna be all right, babe,” Eury told her.
“I can barely see,” she replied.
Once back in the garage, she was biting in her assessment of the accident.
“I guess I should have noticed the tape on his left-rear bumper. I probably shouldn’t have been near his left-rear bumper,” she said. “Sure enough, he turned down and took us both out. What are you going to do? It was a real bummer because I was really hooked up out there because we had new tires on it and I was probably one of the quicker cars on the track.”
She also praised Harvick for pointing out the correct racing line to her early in the race.
“Kevin Harvick was great actually – leading the race he was telling me to go high with him,” she said. “That was cool and I was able to run up high and feel that line out. That’s really cool to see that – he’s leading the race and taking time to help me out. I learned for sure.”
Richard Childress Racing driver John Wes Townley issued a statement late in the race apologizing for a Thursday incident in which he was cited for underage possession of alcohol.
“I made a big mistake and feel terrible about it,” the 20-year-old said. “I have learned a valuable lesson and will do everything I can to make it up to those I have let down.”
He finished 15th.