Friday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway gave fans an intense show under the stadium lights after Team Chevy’s Kevin Harvick made a late-race pass on Kyle Busch and held off pole-sitter Brad Keselowski for the win.
Keselowski and his No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang posted the fastest lap of the day during qualifying for the The John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 presented by Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. He led the field of 40 cars upon the start and quickly widened the gap on second-place starter Kyle Busch, until a caution flag was put out on lap 33. The leading cars opted to pit, and thanks to some rapid work by his pit crew, Paul Menard emerged from pit lane first, ahead of Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.
Soon after, Keselowski passed Menard and occupied first position once again, this time until lap 83, when a shunt between Shane Sieg and Jeremy Clements put out a yellow flag. The leaders pitted, and thanks to their two-tire strategy, Elliot Sadler and Team Chevy’s Regan Smith re-entered the course in first and second.
Keselowski reclaimed first on lap 90 and stayed there until lap 148, when he was bumped back after being handed a penalty for speeding in pit road. This allowed Team Chevy’s Harvick in his No.5 Chevrolet Camaro to move into first position, which he held until he pitted under a caution on lap 156 that was put out for debris on the track. Some drivers opted to stay out during the yellow flag, moving Harvick into fourth for the restart.
Busch led the 40-driver pack of Nationwide drivers with only 39 laps to go ahead of Harvick and Keselowski, but his time in top spot was short lived. Harvick was charging hard and Keselowski was also on a mission, after moving from 17th position to ninth in just five laps following his penalty.
Two more small shunts, one caused by Dakoda Armstrong on Lap 176 and another involving Trevor Bayne and Chase Elliott on Lap 192 bunched the pack together under the resulting caution flags. Upon the restart, Busch and Harvick battled for first position with Menard, Brendan Gaughan and Keselowski in tow.
Harvick passed Busch for the lead, and a determined Keselowski soon passed Busch as well, with his eye on the top spot. Harvick managed to hold the Ford driver off in a nail-biting finish, giving him his second win of the year in Nationwide Series competition.