Kevin Harvick dominated the Great Clips 300 to benefit Feed the Children NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night, taking the lead from Chase Elliott on lap 37 and then leading all the laps that remained of the 195-lap race on his way to the win.
“Just really proud of the race cars we put on the track this year,” Harvick said. “This car was just a real bad to the bone Chevy.”
Elliott, who started on the pole, was the only other race leader, running up front for the first 36 laps. With Elliott and Harvick the only two drivers to run up front, the even was led entirely by JR Motorsports. After Harvick took over the lead, Elliott and Joey Logano battled for second position much of the race. Logano wound up taking runner-up honors, while Elliott finished fifth after a slow pit stop late in the race.
“Just messed up — complete driver error,” Elliott said. “Unacceptable on my part.”
When Harvick took the lead, he pulled away from the field. At one point near the halfway point of the race, he had a cushion of more than seven-and-a-half seconds on the competition. The blistering pace and the low number of cautions (two) resulting in a low number of cars on the lead lap. For much of the race’s second half, there were only 10 cars on the lead lap; by the checkered flag, only nine cars completed the full 195-lap distance.
After losing the lead to Harvick, Elliott ran second until Logano took over the position during a cycle of green flag pit stops that completed around lap 57. Elliott retook second, though, on a restart that followed the first caution for debris that came out on lap 73.
Elliott and Logano then traded the second position back and forth until Logano took the spot for good on a restart that followed a lap 121 caution for a brief sprinkle of rain.
“Just needed to be a little tighter earlier in the race,” Logano said. “Just had to much time to make up at the end of the race.”
A pair of Kyles finished third and fourth, with Larson in third and Busch fourth. Finishing sixth through 10th were Regan Smith, Brian Scott, David Ragan, Ty Dillon and Elliott Sadler.
“It was just a really boring race for me,” Larson said. “The No. 5 (Harvick) was in a league of his own, and the No. 22 (Logano) was in his own league.”