Kevin Harvick powers to Brickyard 400 win in overtime
INDIANAPOLIS - Kevin Harvick pulled away on an overtime restart to win his second consecutive Brickyard 400 and third in his career Sunday night at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Harvick inherited the lead after Denny Hamlin blew a tire and crashed while leading with less than 10 laps left. The victory is Harvick’s fourth of the season and 53rd of his career. He previously won at Indianapolis in 2003 and 2019.
“This is like living out your childhood dream, being able to race and win here,” Harvick said. “I know how many times we’ve had fast cars here, come out the other end. Now to have won it back‑to‑back, three times, is something that’s a little bit surreal. I kind of have to just laugh about it, think back to all of those times that you told somebody you were going to go win the Indy 500, race IndyCar, whatever the case may be. Now you’re in a stockcar, 20 years into your career, still going strong.”
Matt Kenseth finished second for his best finish since returning to the series in place of Kyle Larson at Chip Ganassi Racing. Kenseth was followed by Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski and rookie Cole Custer, who gave Harvick the push on the restart.
MORE: Race results
Hamlin appeared headed for his first Brickyard 400 win until he brought out the caution on Lap 155. A right front tire went down in Turn 1 as he led. He was the second Joe Gibbs Racing driver to crash after a tire went down. Erik Jones was eliminated earlier in the race.
“Just didn’t work out for us today,” Hamlin told NBC Sports. “I had a fast car obviously. Was stretching it out there, but wasn’t pushing the left front (tire) at all. It’s kind of like roulette. Whether you get one that’s going to stay together or not and mine didn’t and you saw the end result.”
Said Harvick: “We weren’t going to get by him unless he made a huge mistake.”
Harvick then had to hold off Kenseth on an overtime restart after getting a timely push from Custer.
“We were clear before we got to Turn 1,” Harvick said. “At that point you have clean air, and those guys were side‑by‑side. We were able to break away right there. Definitely Cole was a huge part of helping us win this race at the end.”
Harvick’s win gave Stewart-Haas Racing a sweep of the NASCAR portion of this historic weekend at Indy that saw the series share the facility with the NTT IndyCar Series. SHR’s Chase Briscoe won Saturday’s Xfinity race on the road course.
Earlier in the race, Zach Price, rear tire changer for Ryan Blaney’s team, was transported to a local hospital after he was struck by Brennan Poole’s car on pit road. The incident happened as several cars crashed on pit road during the competition caution on Lap 14. Price gave a thumbs up while on a stretcher before he was loaded into an ambulance. He was transported to a local hospital. Those in the crash included Corey LaJoie, Ryan Preece, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Justin Allgaier, who was driving in place of Jimmie Johnson because Johnson has contracted COVID-19.
The race started about an hour late because of lightning within an 8-mile radius of the speedway.
STAGE 1 WINNER: William Byron
STAGE 2 WINNER: Kevin Harvick
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Aric Almirola’s third-place finish marked his fifth consecutive top-five finish. ... Brad Keselowski finished fourth, marking his third top-four finish at Indy in the last four years. ... Cole Custer finished fifth, becoming the first rookie to place in the top five at Indy since Juan Pablo Montoya did so in 2007.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie, Martin Truex Jr. and Justin Allgaier were all eliminated because of a crash on pit road early in the race that injured a member of Ryan Blaney’s pit crew.
NOTABLE: Sunday marked the first time since 1958 that Daytona did not host a Cup race on or near July 4.
NEXT RACE: The series races at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway.