The second stage of NASCAR's Challenger round was run under the lights in Charlotte Saturday night with Kevin Harvick finally closing the victory after several near misses in the last few months.
It was a hard fought race for many drivers with tempers flaring on and off the track. The most news worthy happened after the race was over as Brad Keselowski tried to wreck several competitors on his way to the garage.
“There was some contact made on the race track and contact made after the race,” explained Keseloski's crew chief, Paul Wolfe. “Everyone was trying to stand up for what they thought was right.”
One of Brad's victims was Denny Hamlin who didn't quite see it so calmly.
“He went through the garage, cleared out transmission, and did burnouts in the garage,” explained Hamlin on his view of the situation. “Just acting like a … instead of a Champion.”
As all of this played out in the garage area, Harvick was celebrating his first Chase win of the season basking in the thought that he doesn't have to worry about next week's race in Talladega.
“I didn't even know how we were going to prepare for next week without just being a total disaster,” explained a relieved Harvick after the race. “You just know that so much is out of your control going into Talladega.”
Harvick has led thousands of laps this season but only been able to secure two wins. Despite the bad luck, the veteran driver kept his team's eyes on the ultimate goal.
“If you have fast cars the results will come with it. You just have to wait it out,” said Harvick. “I think tonight proved to us that we can do every situation that was presented to us and overcome it, and that's -- sure, we want to win every week, but in the end, still, there's only one goal, and that's to put the trophy in the back of your truck at Homestead and drive it home.”
As Harvick celebrated, Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Jr. face eliminated from the Chase with a poor run next week in Talladega which is one thing that Harvick is glad he doesn't have to worry about.
“I don't know, I'm parking it and watching it. It's going to be fun to watch,” continued the race winner. “It's going to be crazy, offensive racing.”
Regardless of how it unfolds next week, Harvick and his team are solidly into round three and moving ever closer to a Cup Series Championship.
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