Friday, September 7, 2012

Harvick wins at Richmond; rookies show promise

Kevin Harvick broke a 30-race winless streak in the Nationwide Series
on Friday night at Richmond. Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
For the second straight week Kevin Harvick was the class of the field, leading the most laps in Nationwide Series competition. Fortunately for the new dad, Harvick’s day at Richmond International Raceway ended in victory lane Friday, snapping a 30-race winless streak. But Harvick’s domination wasn’t the big story of the night.

Championship leader Elliott Sadler found himself one lap down after an accident on Lap 187, but was able to earn the lucky dog on the following caution, finishing the race in 12th. Sadler now leads the points by just one marker over defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Contender Sam Hornish Jr.’s night ended early following a multi-car wreck that brought out the fourth caution on Lap 157, forcing the race under a red flag to aid the cleanup process. Hornish was unable to return to the track and ended a 12-race streak of finishing in the top 10. Although Hornish isn’t completely out of contention for the title, his 50-point deficit will be hard to make up with only eight races left.

Points leader Elliott Sadler hits the wall.
Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
Rookies Johanna Long, Travis Pastrana, Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr. were the real stars of the night.

Earning her highest starting position of eighth, Long spent time within the top 5 before a blown tire ended her night early. The former Snowball Derby winner showed she’s got the potential to contend if given the chance with a top-tier team.

Extreme sport veteran Travis Pastrana moved from the No. 99 into the No. 60 Roush-Fenway Ford for Friday night’s race. Starting from the fifth spot, Pastrana was strong in the first half of the race but fell outside of the top 15 as the night progressed. Pastrana’s future is unknown at this point, but he’s aggressively seeking out options for 2013.

Making only his third career Nationwide Series start, Darrell Wallace Jr. made progress through the field, battling Cup Series drivers and Nationwide veterans alike. By the time Lap 234 rolled around, Wallace Jr. had moved into the fifth position, proving that he’s got a bright future ahead. Wallace ended the night in the 10th position just behind Penske Racing’s Ryan Blaney.

The Nationwide Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway next weekend.

Final results:
  1. Harvick
  2. Stenhouse Jr.
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Hamlin
  5. Annett
  6. Austin Dillon
  7. Ty Dillon
  8. Nemechek
  9. Blaney
  10. Wallace Jr.
  11. Buescher
  12. Sadler
  13. Allgaier
  14. Whitt
  15. Bliss
  16. Truex
  17. Pastrana
  18. Darnell
  19. Malsam
  20. Sweet
  21. Mike Wallace
  22. Richardson Jr.
  23. Bowles
  24. Clements
  25. Harraka
  26. McClure
  27. Stacey
  28. Scott
  29. Patrick
  30. Hornish Jr.
  31. Hill
  32. Johanna Long
  33. Lepage
  34. White
  35. Berryhill
  36. Riggs
  37. Koch
  38. Carl Long
  39. Carter
  40. Wise
  41. Yeley
  42. Miller
  43. Green

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