Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. each made arduous contact with the wall whereas racing for the lead with 17 of 367 laps remaining in Sunday whereas Harvick was working third.
Two laps later, Truex was pressured to pit underneath inexperienced with a flat tire from the contact and Elliott’s broken No. 9 Chevrolet started falling by means of the sphere, permitting Harvick to inherit the lead.
He then held off a decided cost from Austin Dillon over the ultimate 12 laps to win Sunday evening’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, the opening spherical of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
“What a fight!” Harvick stated over his workforce radio. “I don’t even know how we did that!”
The victory is a series-leading eighth this season for Harvick and locks him into the Round of 12 of the playoffs no matter how he finishes within the subsequent two races.
“First thing I want to say is welcome back, fans. This interview is a hell of a lot more fun with you guys up there (in the stands),” Harvick said. “I just want to say thank you to everybody from NASCAR, all of you fans here in South Carolina. We just wound up fighting all night long. The leaders got tangled up there and the next thing you know we were racing for the win.
“Obviously, those guys had trouble. I didn’t see what happened. I just heard my spotter tell me that something had happened. I’ve just got to thank everybody on our (team). They did a heck of a job tonight just keeping us in the game. Our car wasn’t very good, but we just kept fighting and kept ourselves up in the front with some great pit strategy and were able to stay up there and fight and wound up in the right spot.”
Asked about Austin Dillon closing in on him on the finish of the race, Harvick stated, “I just drove in there and wanted to hit my marks and hit the bottom. I knew I had a cushion and just wanted to maintain the best that I could. I just had to get back to the start-finish line, so just didn’t want to miss my marks.”
Joey Logano ended up third, Erik Jones fourth and William Byron fifth.
Completing the top-10 had been Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer.
Elliott limped residence in twentieth and Truex twenty second.
Following the break between Stages 2 and three, all of the lead-lap vehicles pit with Denny Hamlin the primary off pit street this time.
On the restart on Lap 236, Hamlin was adopted by Bowman, Truex and Harvick.
John Hunter Nemechek slammed the wall on the frontstretch on Lap 244 to carry out a warning. All lead-lap vehicles pit with Truex the primary off pit street.
Truex paved the way on the restart on Lap 251, adopted by Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
With 90 laps to go within the race, Truex held a 1.9-second lead over Kyle Busch. Hamlin was third, Harvick fourth and Kurt Busch remained in fifth.
On Lap 283, Johnson was the primary to hit pit street for a green-flag pit cease, however he would nonetheless must make one other cease earlier than the tip of the race for gasoline to make it to the end.
Several different drivers tailored the identical “two-stop” technique, together with Harvick and Elliott. It appeared the Joe Gibbs Racing vehicles had been going to make use of a one-stop technique and minimize the ultimate stage in half.
With 70 laps remaining, Truex continued out entrance, with a couple of 2.5-second lead on Kyle Busch and Hamlin in third. Of those that had already pit, Harvick led the way in which in ninth.
Hamlin was planning to cease on Lap 308 however missed the doorway to pit street and needed to make one other circuit across the monitor.
By Lap 309, the rest of the lead-lap vehicles had pit which cycled Harvick – one of many first to pit – again into the race lead.
Elliott bought round Harvick for the lead simply earlier than a warning was displayed on Lap 320 for particles on the backstretch, which gave the impression to be a crush panel off somebody’s automobile.
All the lead-lap vehicles pit with Elliott and Harvick the primary off pit street with 4 new tires every. On the restart on Lap 327, Elliott led the way in which adopted by Truex, Austin Dillon and Harvick.
With 35 laps remaining, Elliott preserve a small lead over Truex with Harvick shut behind in third.
Truex has closed to Elliott’s rear bumper with 20 laps to go, placing strain on Elliott for the lead. Harvick ran third, 5 seconds behind the chief.
On Lap 353, each Elliott and Truex bought into the wall in Turn 2 with Truex coming away with the race lead.
Both vehicles suffered injury with Truex ultimately pressured to pit with a possible flat tire, which turned the lead again over to Harvick on Lap 355. Elliott remained on the monitor and working fourth.
Truex dominated on the way in which to the Stage 2 victory, finishing a sweep of each phases at Darlington.
Hamlin was second, Harvick third, Bowman fourth and Johnson rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and a pair of, the lead-lap vehicles all pit with Truex and Elliott the primary two vehicles off pit street.
On the restart on Lap 122, Truex led the way in which adopted by Elliott and Hamlin.
Ryan Blaney dove down pit street in the beginning of Stage 2 for a second cease as he had developed a flat tire. He rejoined the sphere a lap down and in thirty first.
With 85 laps remaining in Stage 2, Truex maintained a 2.8-second lead over Elliott as Hamlin continued in third.
With much less then 75 laps to go within the stage, a handful of drivers hit pit street to start a spherical of green-flag pit stops for brand spanking new tires and sufficient gasoline to make it to the tip of the stage.
A bigger group of drivers – attempting to separate the stage in two – started green-flag stops with 60 laps remaining within the stage.
Harvick, who pit early, moved into the lead on Lap 174 with a greater than 7-second lead over Truex however will possible should make a second cease for gasoline earlier than the tip of the stage.
On Lap 180, Bubba Wallace looped it off Turn 4 to carry out a warning. All lead-lap vehicles pit with Truex the primary off pit street.
Cole Custer was penalized for dashing on pit street and needed to restart from the rear of the sphere. On the restart on Lap 186, Truex was adopted by Hamlin, Johnson and Harvick.
With 30 laps to go within the stage, Truex held lower than a second lead over Harvick with Hamlin in third.
On Lap 216, Hamlin labored his method round Harvick and into the runner-up place, 4 seconds behind Truex.
Truex took command of the race after a late warning and cruised to the Stage 1 victory over Johnson, his third stage win of the 2020 season.
Elliott was third, Hamlin fourth and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.
Elliott, who began on the pole, led the primary 25 laps till NASCAR displayed a deliberate competitors warning to permit groups to examine for tire put on.
The lead-lap vehicles all pit throughout the warning with Elliott the primary off pit street. On the restart on Lap 32, Elliott led the way in which adopted by Bowman and Byron.
With 65 laps remaining within the first stage, Elliott had constructed a 1.2-second lead over Truex whereas Harvick had moved as much as third.
With 50 laps to go, Elliott’s lead over Truex remained at 1.4 seconds whereas Hamlin had moved into third and Harvick dropped to fourth. Johnson had climbed to fifth after beginning twenty second.
On Lap 67, Austin Dillon pit underneath inexperienced for a flat tire.
Around Lap 70, a number of lead-lap vehicles started a spherical of green-flag pit stops for brand spanking new tires and sufficient gasoline to make it to the tip of the stage.
Once the cycle of stops was accomplished on Lap 75, Elliott reclaimed the highest spot with a couple of half-second benefit over Truex. Hamlin ran third.
On Lap 81, NASCAR displayed the warning for particles in Turn 4 that appeared to return after Brad Keselowski tagged the wall.
Most lead-lap vehicles pit with Truex the primary off pit street adopted by Elliott and Hamlin. On the restart on Lap 87, Kurt Busch – who had stayed out – led the way in which.
By Turn 3 after the restart, Truex had powered into the lead for the primary time within the race.
On Lap 94, Elliott bought round Kurt Busch off Turn 2 to maneuver to the second spot, 2.2 seconds behind Truex.
With 10 laps to go within the first stage, Johnson handed Elliott to take over the runner-up place, 2.9 seconds behind Truex.