Team Chevy failed to snap their mid-season winless streak under the lights at Bristol Saturday night, with Joey Logano holding off a determined Kevin Harvick to take the second win of his career on the demanding .533-mile short track. Harvick, who rebounded from two pit-road penalties to battle for the lead, crossed the finish line just .220 seconds behind Logano to take his 10th second place finish of the season.
The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas proved strong at Bristol, with Denny Hamlin taking pole and racing near the front of the pack for much of the race. Hamlin would end up third by the end of the night, with Jimmie Johnson turning up fourth. Clint Bowyer, whose future in NASCAR is now uncertain after Michael Waltrip Racing announced it will shut down shop last week, was fifth.
Despite Bristol’s tight confines and history of wrecks, a long 63-lap green flag run after a lap 438 restart ushered in the end of the race. Throughout that time, Harvick tried to catch Logano, however the No. 22 Ford was stronger in traffic than his No. 4 Chevrolet SS, Harvick explained, giving Logano an advantage.
“He was just one step ahead of me in traffic,” Harvick told NASCAR.com. “I couldn’t get my car to rotate across the center like I needed it to, and every time I tried to force it, it would snap the back out. He was able to go in really high and before the center of the corner drive down the corner and I was just having to wait just a split second to be able to put the throttle back down, and I couldn’t do that, that huge diamond all the way to the bottom like he could, and that was really beneficial for him through traffic.”
“He was able to get those huge runs up off the exit of the corner and just stayed one step ahead of me through traffic, I felt like, and in clean air we probably were a little faster, but it didn’t really matter. I had to be in front of him to show that.”
Joey Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski finished sixth and was followed across the finish line by Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch in seventh and eighth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. managed to post a top ten finish and turned up ninth with Ryan Newman closely behind him to take tenth.
NASCAR’s taking a break this weekend before the series heads to Darlington for the highly anticipated Bojangles Southern 500 on Labor Day. Kevin Harvick won at Darlington last year, and will be looking to avenge his near-win at Bristol with a repeat result.
Click here for full results from the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol.
Photo via Team Penske on Facebook