Harvick survives shootout for 1st Darlington win

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 12, 2014 at 10:51 pm •  Published: April 12, 2014
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Earnhardt quickly moved past Johnson for the lead until Denny Hamlin hit the wall for the 10th caution to set up the overtime finish.

Earnhardt was still out front on that restart when Clint Bowyer got too close to Kurt Busch and spun him out — Busch made sure to walk up the track and stare down Bowyer — to force a second green-white-checkered finish.

This time, Harvick and his fresher tires easily got past Earnhardt and drove on to his second win since joining Stewart-Haas Racing this offseason, adding Darlington to his win in Phoenix this year.

"Cautions breed cautions," Johnson said. "I would assume there was a lot of pent up anger out there through 495 miles of racing (and) when a guy has four tires on him I'm sure he was pretty aggressive in the middle of the pack."

Kyle Busch was sixth and Jeff Gordon, the points leader coming in, was seventh. Rookie Kyle Larson was eighth with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman rounding out the top 10.

But there were plenty of powerhouse drivers who hadn't yet broken through — the three Hendrick stalwarts in Gordon, Johnson and Kasey Kahne among them — and that made for a frantic charge at the end on the quirky, country track.

Harvick was passed at the start by Logano, who led the first 37 laps, then moved back to the front and led for 137 of the next 185 laps.

The worst looking of the seven caution periods was with Paul Menard, who hit the wall yet stayed out, eventually sparking under the passenger side and igniting a small fire in the pits. No one was injured, although Menard's car was towed to the garage for repairs.

"I guess I was just in denial, I guess I didn't realize the right-front tire was down," Menard said.

Menard brought out another caution with 95 laps left, hitting the wall a second time.

The race teams get a break next week for the annual Easter holiday before resuming the season at Richmond International Raceway on April 26. Their next off weekend won't come until July 20, a week before the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.