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June 27, 2014

AUTO RACING: Harvick pulls out Nationwide win at Kentucky

Cup star passes Busch with five laps to go

SPARTA, Ky. — All season, Kevin Harvick has been one of the fastest drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

But on Friday night, Harvick showed he is quick in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, too.

Harvick passed rival Kyle Busch on lap 196 and won the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway. It was Harvick’s 42nd career victory in the Nationwide Series.

With less than 10 laps to go, the caution flag flew for the final time when Trevor Bayne spun out in Turn 4 after making contact with Chase Elliott.

Busch, who was leading at the time, picked the outside lane on the restart with five laps to go with Harvick running second. In Turn 2, Harvick stayed inside Busch and completed the pass to take the lead for good.

Harvick kept stretching out the lead as Busch tried to hold off a hard-charging Brad Keselowski. Harvick won the race by .929 seconds over second-place Keselowski, who got around Busch with three laps remaining.

Busch, who won Thursday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky, wound third. Paul Menard was fourth and Ryan Blaney ended up fifth.

It was Keselowski’s race to lose and that is exactly what happened on Lap 148.

Keselowski, who is the defending race winner, relinquished a 15.57-second lead and made his final pit stop, but he committed a speeding penalty on pit road and had to come back to the pits to serve a penalty, losing a lap. Keselowski had led 138 laps before the infraction.

Brendan Gaughan finished sixth, followed by Ty Dillon, Brian Scott, Kyle Larson and Elliott Sadler. Sadler took over the Nationwide Series point lead because of the top-10 finish.

The Nationwide Series will travel to Daytona International Speedway next Friday  for an Independence Day race.

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