NNS Race Capsule: Happy Harvick dominates, holds off Busch
The Scoop: Kevin Harvick has made a playground of Nationwide Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the past. The same held true for almost all of Saturday's Great Clips Grit Chips 300. Harvick led over two-thirds of the race and had the race in hand by a several second advantage over 2nd place Joey Logano (6th), when a caution flew with just over 10 laps to go for Jeff Green's wreck at the end of the frontstretch. Much like last year, when Harvick led most of the race until a late debris caution, the No. 33 seemed poised to possibly lose one again. Every lead lap car decided to pit for fresh rubber and Harvick held the lead out of the pits for the final start over Logano. When the green flew, Logano didn't start well and Kyle Busch surged to the outside to challenge for the lead. The No. 54, which led many laps early in the race, could only pull even to Harvick, but not pass him. He made one last ditch effort for the lead did Busch on the last lap, but Harvick threw the block in turn 2 and held him off for his 2nd NNS win at AMS in the Nationwide Series. Points leader Sam Hornish Jr. extended his advantage by finishing 3rd, Kasey Kahne came back from an early spin to finish 4th, and rookie Kyle Larson was an impressive 5th. The rest of the top 10 was Logano, Trevor Bayne, Austin Dillon, Regan Smith, and Brian Scott. The race had a green feel, only slowing four times for yellow flags, which meant the rest of the field was mincemeat to the leaders. The last set of pit stops allowed for many contenders a lap down to take wave-arounds, increasing the lead lap car total from nine before the last yellow to 18.
140 Characters or less: Harvick does heckuva job whipping field and thwarting Busch. Cup drivers dominate NNS again.
Handsome Boy Modeling School Stud of the Race: Kevin Harvick - He led the most, lapped all but nine cars, and made the killer moves at the end to preserve the win.
North Korean Missile Dud: Elliott Sadler - The No. 11 team and Sadler is pretty much a dud each week. Winless and toothless this season, Sadler still sits well in points, but was a pretender Saturday, finishing 11th.
Never Fear, Underdogs Are Here: Pass. I suppose Landon Cassill and the No. 4 JD Motorsports team capitalized with new Line-X sponsorship to finish 19th, ahead of where they probably should have. But the entire B and C class in the NNS at AMS got skunked.
You Can Comeback, But You Can't Stay Here: Kasey Kahne - An early spin sent Kahne from the top 10 to 25th. He wasted no time climbing the ladder into the top 10 and ended the night 4th. Of course, a Cup driver in essentially a Hendrick Motorsports team should probably do no worse.
Wheel of Misfortune: Alex Bowman - the forgotten Rookie of the Year contender was up in smoke very early in the race, losing an engine before the first set of pit stops and ending the night 34th. Following a 33rd place run at Bristol, Bowman will fall even further back from the top 10 in points.
Head Scratcher Crown of Thorns: Tri-Star Motorsports - We know that money talks and that is how there have been three different drivers of the No. 44 Toyota this year, but a perfectly decent team keeps getting setbacks by switching drivers so often. Cole Whitt maybe could have been a lead lap car, but instead was 20th a lap down, having sat out several races since joining the team mid-season.
Ghost Driver: Parker Kligerman - The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver was almost a no-show in the race, running outside the top 15 most of the race, falling a lap down at one point, and finishing a distant 16th.
Next: The NNS joins the Cup Series at Richmond for a Friday race under the lights at 7:30 on ESPN2.
Georgia On My Mind: The peach state contingency unfortunately sees no members on contending teams. Reed Sorenson finished 21st, about where his TMG team should have. Kyle Fowler garnered a pit road speeding penalty in the Techniweld/Pull-A-Part/Bows For Bowman Ford, but still held his laps down spot in 26th. Ken Butler III was way off the pace in the No. 24 and placed 28th. Chase Miller start-and-parked to 38th.
Hear the AdvoCare 500 pre-race show with Captain Herb and me live from Atlanta Motor Speedway 1-3 p.m. Sunday on 95.5FM/AM750 News/Talk WSB in Atlanta and online at wsbradio.com.