Race Weekend Central

Kevin Harvick Returns to Atlanta Victory Lane After 17 Years Away

They called it “Harvicking.” Kevin Harvick called it running the bottom groove, and it’s what brought the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing driver to Victory Lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Leading 181 of 325 laps, Harvick scored his 38th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and his first at Atlanta since 2001, his first career Cup win just weeks after the loss of Dale Earnhardt. The win also stands as a weekend sweep after winning the XFINITY Series event on Saturday.

“There were so many demos that seemed to haunt us here for a long time,” Harvick said. “I love racing here, it’s good to be back in Victory Lane. Finally!”

Brad Keselowski had one more shot at Harvick when Trevor Bayne blew a motor with 28 laps to go. With a restart with 24 laps to go, Keselowski lined up second alongside the No. 4. Despite holding his own mid-race against Harvick, leading 38 laps on the day, the defending Atlanta winner just couldn’t hang on to Harvick’s pace.

“Nobody had anything for Kevin today,” Keselowski said. “He was just better today. I had a blast today. You’re really working your tail off inside the car. It feels old school, which is what I like.”

Clint Bowyer came home third, giving Ford a 1-2-3 sweep for the season’s first 1.5-mile track.

“It’s really cool to have all four Stewart-Haas cars running good,” Bowyer said. “It feels good to have a podium finish. Obviously, we need to be better to run with Kevin. We stubbed our toes a couple times.”

Though Harvick dominated the rain-threatened day and night of racing, eight drivers held the top spot throughout the race. Ryan Newman led the opening 17 circuits after starting second before Kyle Busch led for nine.

Pit strategy and multi-groove racing took over in the race’s second half when Denny Hamlin stretched his green-flag runs to lead 26 laps. Kurt Busch led Harvick and Keselowski while the top three battled for the lead near the end of Stage 2.

Hamlin finished fourth with Martin Truex Jr. completed the top five. Joey Logano, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott completed the top 10.

For Elliott, fending for a lead-lap finish wasn’t enough for the third-year driver.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Elliott said. “Trying to stay on the lead lap is not where you want to be. I’m not sure how much more we could’ve got.”


About the author


Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.

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Tom B

When Kevin Harvick gets his car the way he wants it, he is so dominating. Atlanta separates the real racers from the Sunday drivers.
Zach, I thought you have to win all three NASCAR races over the weekend to be considered a Sweep?
What’s up with little Keelan Harvick? It’s hard to be the cool parent sometimes. And the cameras are constantly on you, waiting for you to snap.

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