CONCORD, NC — The winningest driver of the season to this point, Kevin Harvick, proved himself once again as he claimed the 1 Million Dollar payday, winning the 2018 Monster Energy All-Star race on Saturday evening.
It was a wild one from start to finish! Here’s how it all went down at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Matt Kenseth started on the pole to get the All-Star Race underway at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. However, he was quickly overtaken by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who led the first lap of the race. Then on lap two, the first caution of the race came out as Kurt Busch got loose going into turn four and spun around.
After the restart on lap 5, Kevin Harvick quickly took over the lead. A slew of position changes would occur behind Harvick. However, Harvick would never give up the lead as he cruised to an easy stage 1 victory.
On yellow flag pit stops, Kyle Busch won the battle off of pit road. This put Busch in the lead for the start of the 2nd stage. However, Martin Truex Jr. would overtake the lead from Busch, before relinquishing it back to Busch a lap later. Busch would hold onto the top spot through the end of the 2nd stage. His teammate, Daniel Suarez, claimed the 2nd position in the stage.
On yellow flag stops, Brad Keselowski only took right-side tires and got out first. K. Busch got out 2nd, with Suarez coming out in 3rd. Keselowski would lead the stage until lap five of the 3rd stage as Truex Jr. took the lead over. Then almost in sync, as the field crossed the start-finish line, Kasey Kahne slammed into the wall and brought out a caution.
Truex Jr. would remain the leader as the field got back under green with only 11 laps left in the stage. Then with just 5 laps left in the stage, Kyle Larson would make a pass on Truex Jr. for the lead. However, Larson was unable to maintain the lead back to the line as Truex Jr. maintained the lead.
Then with only one lap left in the stage, Alex Bowman got loose in turn tow and found himself in the wall. This set up a two-lap shootout to end the 3rd stage. The leader Truex Jr. would pit under caution, giving up the lead to Kyle Larson.
After the restart, Daniel Suarez would take the lead, and then carnage ensued going into turn three as Rickey Stenhouse Jr. got on the embankment as Truex Jr. went low, this caused Stenhouse Jr. to clip Truex Jr., sending him around, collecting Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski. This sent the caution out, with Denny Hamlin having overtaken Suarez for the lead, setting up the 2nd overtime to conclude stage 3.
Kyle Larson would give Denny Hamlin a push and keep him in the lead, then make a move to the inside to pass Hamlin. Then with Larson in the point, Suarez got a huge run to overtake Larson. Then it was Harvick making seemingly effortless work of Suarez to steal the stage win.
Kevin Harvick dominated the final stage, and it didn’t look like anyone would be able to catch him until a caution came out only two laps to go. It came as Joey Logano got into the wall coming out of turn four and then clipped Kyle Larson, sending him for a wild ride through the front stretch grass.
On the restart with only two laps to go, Harvick got a great restart and an even better push from Joey Logano. This kept him on the point, where Daniel Suarez tried to make a pass on the backstretch. Suarez was unable to close the gap, which then saw Harvick pull away to a two-car lead.
Harvick would hold on to claim the victory, his 2nd All-Star Race win, with his first one coming back in 2007.