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FT. WORTH, Texas (Nov. 7) "" REESE’S Racing driver Kevin Harvick took advantage of a fast pit stop which helped him grab an emotional victory Saturday in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Harvick, whose father-in-law died earlier this week after a long illness, took the lead with a fast pit stop on lap 168 of 200. Harvick was leading by approximately two seconds when a final lap crash forced the race to end under caution. It was his 17th career victory in the Busch Series. Harvick is tied for 11th highest number of victories in the Busch Series.
"It’s been the hardest week I’ve ever had to go through," Harvick said. "This win has been a little release to help heal things, but you’ve just got to take it day by day."
"Everything just worked out. We had a great pit stop and the 39 (Ryan Newman) didn’t pit and then got bit by the caution. If we hadn’t made a lot of good adjustments on the last stop, though, it wouldn’t have been such a good day."
Harvick started the O’Reilly Challenge in the third spot. Harvick remained in the top five until a fast pit stop on lap 18 helped him take the lead from Newman, who started on the pole. However, Harvick was only able to fight off Newman for five laps before relinquishing the lead to Newman again.
On lap 88 of 200, Harvick and the REESE’S Racing team brought the No. 21 Chevy to pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop. The team made minor adjustments to help with the car’s performance, changed four tires and filled the car with fuel. Harvick returned to the track in fourth place, and Newman remained the leader.
With approximately 100 laps in the books, it looked like Newman was going to win his sixth consecutive Busch Series race, leading 122 of the first 134 laps. However, the rest of the field received the break they were looking for. On lap 106, Newman gambled by staying on the track when 17 cars on the lead lap pitted under caution for gas and fresh tires. Eventually, Newman lost the lead to Kasey Kahne, who was running on newer tires. Then, Newman was forced to pit under green flag conditions while running second.
Kahne crashed a few short laps later, activating the fourth caution period of the day. The caution put Newman one lap down and helped Harvick win his fourth race of the season.
Greg Biffle finished second, followed by Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson and Kyle Busch, respectively. Harvick’s teammate, Clint Bowyer, finished seventh and gained 16 points on series leader Martin Truex Jr. Truex now leads Bowyer by 84 points.
The REESE’S team remains fourth in the standings, 105 points shy of third.
Harvick remains in the driver’s seat of the REESE’S Chevrolet Saturday, Nov. 12, for the Phoenix 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The TNT television network will begin its coverage at 3:30 p.m. EST. MRN will produce the live radio broadcast.