HAMPTON, GA – Kevin Harvick tasted sweet redemption Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, earning the win in the Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 one year after dominating the race only to end up third.
There was no such late-race heartbreak this year, as Harvick's crew executed a nearly flawless pit stop during the final yellow-flag pit stops to get him back on track first, and then Harvick held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch for the final seven laps to earn his second career NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"That's two – actually three – years in a row that we had a dominant car, and you think something's going to go wrong, but we just kept digging, and these guys did a great job," Harvick said. "We brought the same stuff back that we had last year and it worked again."
Not to say that it was easy, especially in the final green-flag shootout. Harvick and Busch dueled side-by-side throughout most of the final seven laps, but Busch making one final daredevil move on the final lap to take the air off Harvick's car and make him loose. Instead, Busch was the one who got loose, finishing a car length behind Harvick at the checkered flag.
The outcome frustrated Busch, who has a record four career Nationwide Series pole positions at Atlanta Motor Speedway but has never been able to win a Nationwide race at the fast track. Instead, he added an incredible fifth runner-up finish in Atlanta to his resume.
"(We) fought hard and came up short," Busch said. "I had a run on him one time, he blocked my air and put me in the fence, so I had to check up before I got to the fence. It is what it is. Second again."
Sam Hornish Jr., Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.
The Biggest Labor Day Party in the USA will culminate Sunday with the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Tickets are still available at the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office, and seats start at just $19.