Harvick takes AAA 400 Drive for Autism in Dover

Tanya Simon
May 7, 2018

Kevin Harvick has won the opening stage at Dover International Speedway. Once it was over, Harvick checked out - winning by more than seven seconds.

Then, maybe, he would have had something for race victor and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.

"I feel like we're playoff racing on a weekly basis and if you're going to win a bunch of races that's what you have to do", said Harvick.

Harvick has five stage wins this season. He brought the trophy home following his first win at Dover in October 2015, only to have his young son break the arm on the fiberglass creature that was never cleaned from the victory celebration.

"It's actually a lot harder, because you don't want to screw it up", said Harvick of emerging as the favorite early in the race weekend. Harvick finished more than six seconds ahead of Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer.

Kyle Busch, who had won three races in a row before running into trouble last weekend at Talladega, ran into more trouble at Dover.

The only question for Harvick and his No. 4 Ford Fusion team was if a mechanical issue, Mother Nature or a bad pit stop would throw a wrench into things. He led 201 of 400 laps, stormed past Bowyer and took the lead for good with 62 laps left. "It makes a big difference", Bowyer said after the race.

On lap 338, Kevin Harvick got around Clint Bowyer for the race lead.

Bowyer was second. Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr., and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. "Three cars in the top five says a lot about where we are as a company, but it's fun racing your teammate". "It's fun racing your teammate".

"It's days like today that build the momentum in the organization", said SHR co-owner Tony Stewart. The ballyhooed youth movement that was supposed to usher in NASCAR's rebirth continues to fizzle.

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With 10 laps to go, Harvick had a 5 plus second lead over Clint Bowyer and when the checkered flag waved, his margin of victory would come out to 7.450 seconds.

Harvick, Truex and Bowyer - all winners this year - are over 35.

He's the first driver to win four times this season, putting him third in the points standings - behind only Kyle Busch and Joey Lagano.

The race went green with 75 laps to go.

Dover date: Dover had its earliest Cup date since it started in 1969.

"Miles is pretty popular, as you can imagine, with the kids", Harvick said of the trophy, which is a large cartoon character made to resemble concrete holding a replica vehicle. "That's all you can ask for as a team". But that means some tracks get the short end of the stick, some tracks get the benefit from it. "We'll go on to next week".

Kyle Larson, who was supposed to start on the pole after running the best qualifying time Friday, had to start from the rear after his auto failed pre-race inspection three times.

Larson won the pole on Friday but didn't start there. Pole victor Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman started from the rear.

Buh-bye, Bayne: Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, is set to yield the No. 6 Ford next week to the returning Matt Kenseth.

Up next: The series shifts to Kansas Speedway, where Martin Truex Jr.is the defending race victor.

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