Kevin Harvick moved on to the Contender round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and put an end to Chevy’s 11-race winless streak Sunday, winning the AAA 400 at Dover after leading 355 of the race’s 400 laps. The win is Harvick’s third of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season and the 31st of his career.
After taking two poor finishes in a row in the first two rounds of the Chase, Harvick found himself in a must-win position heading to Dover. The defending Sprint Cup Series Champ was confident he could pull out the much-needed ‘W’, and post-race reiterated the self-assurance to NASCAR.com.
“I think we’re better than we were last year, just because of the experiences and things that we’ve had,” Harvick said. “I think when we look at everything that’s gone on over the last couple of years, it’s just been a lot of fun.”
“So, it’s just that never-quit attitude,” he added. “That’s what Tony Stewart said when we went to Homestead last year. He said, ‘Whatever you do, do not quit until they throw that checkered flag.’”
While it’s not a shock that the usually-dominant Harvick performed well Sunday, it was a bit surprising to see the Stewart-Haas racing driver win at a track where he has just four top-five finishes in 29 starts and no wins. Even more surprising was to see Jimmie Johnson, who has won at Dover 10 times, pit on Lap 104 due to car trouble and wind up 41st, knocking him out of the Chase.
Also ousted from the Chase for the Sprint Cup was Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, and Clint Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt Jr. locked in a spot in the Contender round after finishing third, beating fourth place’s McMurray in a nail biter of a finish. Second place’s Kyle Busch also locked in a spot in the Contender round with a strong result.
The next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will kick off on Saturday, October 10. Click here for full results from Dover, and here for a schedule of next weekend’s NASCAR festivities