When the dust finally settled on Richmond International Raceway Saturday night, ‘Ol Happy Harvick was all smiles yet again.
Harvick plowed through traffic in overtime, driving from seventh to Gatorade Victory Lane. He did it with one of those “Where did he come from?” moves.
“Just shifted gears, hit the pedal and hoped for the best,” Harvick said. “They all went high and I went low. The seas kind of parted there. They didn’t get a very good restart, and my car launched.
The win, Harvick’s first of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, will probably stop the questions on whether the driver of the No. 29 Chevrolet is a lame-duck at Richard Childress Racing, RCR. In case you’ve been living under a rock and have forgotten, Harvick has already announced he will leave RCR at season’s end and head to Stewart-Haas Racing. However on Saturday evening, Harvick showed the NASCAR nation that he still has some winning left to do in the No. 29.
“A lot of people thought we might lay down this year,” Harvick said as he got a hug in victory lane from team owner Richard Childress. “There ain’t no way with that game, is there?”
With six laps to go, the final caution came out as Brian Vickers, who is substituting for the injured Denny Hamlin, got into the outside wall. At the time Juan Pablo Montoya was leading and looking forward to celebrating his first win since 2010.
Tempers flared following the race with Kurt Busch punting Matt Kenseth on the cool down lap. Suddenly, Tony Stewart’s door slammed the No. 78 of Busch and the two proceeded to try to run each other into the wall until they made it down pit road. Emotions spilled over into the garage area when the two engaged in a shouting match, but no shoving or punching flew.
NASCAR returns to Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday afternoon with Jimmie Johnson continuing to lead the standings by 43 points over Carl Edwards and 46 points over his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.