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Winners and losers from Darlington

Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Letarte discuss the impressive work of Kevin Harvick's crew, led by Rodney Childers, Matt Kenseth's first race back and how drivers did in the Real Heroes 400 with no practice.


Kevin Harvick — While the celebration was muted because of no fans and social distancing guidelines, Harvick scored his first win of the season and 50th of his career on Sunday.

Alex Bowman — Runner-up finish shows how strong this Hendrick Motorsports team is. After his dominating weekend and win at Auto Club Speedway, he was viewed as among the favorites at Darlington and showed that the break in the season had not slowed his team.

Matt Kenseth — In his first Cup start since the 2018 season finale, he went out and finished 10th. Also, his trademark dry wit was on display in some of his radio conversations with his team. It’s just like he never left.

Ryan Preece — Normally a 20th-place finish doesn’t put you in this category, but it does this time. Preece passed Bubba Wallace for 20th with three laps to go. That’s significant because the top 20 finishers from Sunday’s race will be inverted. So Preece starts on the pole Wednesday night at Darlington. Wallace, who finished 21st, will start 21st on Wednesday.

Tyler Reddick and John Hunter Nemechek — Cup rookies are supposed to struggle at Darlington. Even though both had never run a lap at speed in a Cup car at Darlington before Sunday’s green flag, they both finished in the top 10. Reddick placed seventh; Nemechek ninth. Those were season-high finishes for both.


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Seven drivers had never run a lap at speed in a Cup car at Darlington. Stenhouse was making his eighth career Cup start at the track. He was the one to wreck on the first lap. “Pretty embarrassing for myself,” he said.

Jimmie Johnson — On the verge of his first stage win of the season, he made contact with Chris Buescher’s car and wrecked. “What I would do to get that corner back to do it over again,” he said. Johnson is now winless in his last 100 Cup starts. Crew chief Cliff Daniels immediately reminded the team not to get down after the incident. We’ve got a great race car,” Daniels said on the radio to his team. “So don’t you get down. We’ll be back in 2 days.”