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Kevin Harvick wins at Kansas Speedway, moves into third place in point standings
The last time he qualified first, at New Hampshire in 2006, he also won the race.
“These guys just did a great job all weekend,” Harvick said. “To have a car fast enough for me to qualify on the pole says a lot about how fast this thing is.”
Harvick was chased across the line by Busch and Gordon. Joey Logano finished fourth, Carl Edwards was fifth, and Jimmie Johnson finished sixth despite a slight hiccup with his engine on the final lap that cost him one spot on the track.
Matt Kenseth held onto his lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with an 11th-place finish. Johnson narrowed the gap to just three points, while Harvick moved into third place, just 25 points out of first with six races left in the season.
Kyle Busch was the big loser after crashing for the third straight time at Kansas Speedway, dropping from third in points to fifth, 35 adrift of the lead.
There were 15 cautions in the race, breaking the record of 14 for a Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. The first came when the race wasn’t even a lap old and Danica Patrick slammed into the wall, and most of them occurred when cars got loose coming out of Turn 2.
Busch and Kenseth both called the race “treacherous,” pointing to the combination of a repave last year and Goodyear’s new “multi-zone” tires that made it seem as if they were skating across a smooth, glasslike surface most of the afternoon.
All of it was compounded by temperatures in the 50s at the start of the race, more than 30 degrees cooler than testing and practice earlier in the week.
“It’s all about restarts and making sure you can gain spots, but it’s treacherous,” Busch said. “You had to have a lot of give and take.”
One of the major story lines coming into the race involved Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, who got together in the Nationwide race on Saturday.
Keselowski said that Busch intentionally dumped him and seemed to indicate that he would retaliate in the Sprint Cup race. Keselowski even asked NASCAR President Mike Helton in the prerace driver’s meeting about the line between hard racing and intentional wrecks.
It turned out that Busch kept going for spins without Keselowski’s help.
The first one came down the front stretch when he appeared to squeeze Juan Pablo Montoya, sending Busch sideways across the track. The second spin came after a restart a moment later, and this one sent his No. 18 Toyota head-first into the Turn 1 wall and ended his day.
By Joy Overbeck
Redemption by government is futile
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