Highlights of Sunday’s AAA 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway:
WINNER: Kevin Harvick returned to his winning ways Sunday, breezing to his Cup Series-best fourth victory this season. Harvick finished more than six seconds ahead of Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer.
Harvick led 201 of 400 laps and swept all three stages, while Fords again showed their power, taking four of the top six spots.
“I want to thank everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Yates engines, everybody at Ford for just continuing to put the effort they put into these cars,” Harvick said in victory lane. “Three cars in the top five says a lot about where we are as a company, but it’s fun racing your teammate. That says a lot about our company and one of your good friends as well.”
The victory was the second at Dover for Harvick, who won here in the fall of 2015, and his 41st overall in the Cup Series, 18th best on the all-time list.
Toyota drivers Daniel Suarez and Martin Truex Jr. finished third and fourth with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch coming home fifth.
“The opportunity that Gene [Haas] and Tony [Stewart] give all of us at Stewart-Haas makes this a lot of fun,” said Bowyer, who won earlier this season at Martinsville Speedway. “It’s fun to be running like this again, and competitive and up front in the limelight.”
HARVICK TO THE POINT: Eighteen laps after the race was restarted from a rain delay, Harvick breezed past Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Bowyer to take the lead. He quickly built a three-second edge.
RAIN ARRIVES: A rain shower brought out the caution flag on lap 315 (of a scheduled 400). Bowyer had a four-second lead over Harvick. Joey Logano was third, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski. NASCAR parked the cars under a red flag at lap 320. The delay lasted roughly 40 minutes as the rain moved out.
KYLE BUSCH BOWS OUT: Busch, one of the season’s most accomplished drivers, dropped out of the race on lap 272 because of a broken driveshaft. Busch complained of driveshaft problems early in the race but held on and raced in the top five before parking.
“It just kept getting worse and worse the more the day was going, especially after restarts it was really, really bad,” Busch said. “I was just trying to bide it out, see if we’d make it to the end. At first, I thought that it was an engine problem, but that wasn’t the case.”
WARE INTO THE WALL: Cody Ware hit the wall in turn four on lap 253, bringing out the sixth caution of the day.
STAGE TWO: Harvick outran Keselowski to win the second stage. Following in the top 10 were Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Truex, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Logano.
COPE SLAPS WALL: Derrike Cope lost control of his car in the fourth turn on lap 153 and bounced off the outside wall before hitting the inside wall much harder. Cope was not hurt. The accident brought out the day’s fourth caution flag.
STAGE ONE: With several drivers saving fuel to make it to the end of the stage, Harvick led the opening stage in front of Kyle Busch and Keselowski. Also in the top 10: Suarez, Kurt Busch, Elliott, Bowyer, Johnson, Logano and Blaney.
THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG: The field had completed only three laps before the track, which attracts cautions like a magnet, drew in its first victim. After contact with Darrell Wallace Jr., Michael McDowell slid through Turn 4 and down to the inside of the track, sparking the first yellow period of the race.
ON THE WAY BACK: Three Chevrolet teams started the race from a deficit after they were sent to the back of the field after failing pre-race inspection three times. Pole winner Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman started from the rear.