Kevin Harvick wins Southern 500 at Darlington
Sun, 13 Apr 2014 04:14:11 GMT —
Kevin Harvick won the longest race in the 65-year history of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night.
Off a final re-start, Harvick passed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to win in overtime, a green-white checkered finish at The Track Too Tough To Tame.
It was Harvick's first Sprint Cup win at Darlington, and 25th of his career. Harvick said it all came down to the final pit stop, "We took four tires and thought that was the right decision. When you look back on it, as many cars that took two tires, if we wouldn't have had a green-white-checkered, it might not have worked out. But all in all it worked out and we're standing here in victory lane."
Earnhardt, Jr. finished second, his best finish ever at the Southern 500. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, who has not won this season, finished third, followed by last year's winner Matt Kenseth. Greg Biffle rounded out the top five.
Harvick led the most laps, (239 of 374) and won from the pole. Despite being listed as 22nd in points, he now sits on top of the driver standings toward the playoff chase after eight races, with his two wins heading into the off week before the next race at Richmond.
Following the win at Darlington, Harvick is almost guaranteed of a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He only needs to finish in the top 30 in points and attempt to qualify for every race.
Gordon, still winless this season, is the unofficial points leader by one over Kenseth. But since Gordon has yet to win, he is now eighth in the driver standings.