Kevin Harvick Dominates to Capture Record Fifth Atlanta Win in XFINITY Series

Written by: Adrian Beecher
HAMPTON, GA – It was domination from start to finish for Kevin Harvick in the No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford, leading 141 of the 163 laps in the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. As Harvick took the checkered flag for a record fifth time at Atlanta in the XFINITY, there were just seven cars left on the lead lap. Joey Logano in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford was closest to Harvick at the end, 4.183 seconds behind in 2nd place.

After taking the lead 17 laps into the race, no one seemed to have the speed or line to stay with Harvick. The 2nd caution of the race would setup a one-lap shootout to end the first stage. On that restart, Harvick had dropped to 10th since he elected to take a pit stop under yellow. That didn’t hold him back though, as he made his way to the front in that one lap to win stage 1.

The 2nd stage wasn’t even a competition with Harvick leading all 40 laps and had already put 22 cars down a lap. Joey Logano was the only other driver to get a taste of the lead the rest of the way, which happened under green flag pit stops and would only see Harvick out of 1st for two laps.

“I don’t think we were even close.” said 2nd place finisher Joey Logano after the race, “Kevin played with us all day long. He just kinda rode along out there and ran a few hard laps when he needed to and then get enough distance, then he’d chill back out.”

The closest anyone would get in the final stage to Harvick, other than during the green flag pit stops, was pole sitter Christopher Bell in the No. 20 Ruud Toyota. That distance was 1.3 seconds, which came early after the pit stops.

Domination has been the name of the game for Harvick in Atlanta, and that hasn’t changed even though he has been with many different teams in his 20 years racing in the XFINITY Series. The win Saturday tied him with Tony Stewart for most overall race wins with different teams, something that Harvick give’s a lot of credit to being able to run so well, especially in Atlanta.

“It’s just been a really good place for me and obviously getting my first cup win here and being able to run good cars throughout the years.” says Harvick. “The racetrack has stayed very similar to what it’s been for a number of years, and I think as you look at the techniques and the things that I do in the car and they (His teams) give me what I want in the car.”

In addition to the record for most XFINITY races won at Atlanta, he also holds the record for most laps led with 973 over his XFINITY career at AMS. The trip to victory lane marks his 47th XFINITY win and 98th career NASCAR victory.

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