The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Unlimited kicked off the season with a bang on Saturday night as Kevin Harvick cruised his way to the first victory of the year.
Harvick was pretty dominant, too, leading for 40 of the race's 75 laps.
The debut of the Generation-6 race car saw many drivers testing and working out the kinks in their new sets of wheels. Drivers were also aggressive, helping and bumping others along to get a complete feel of their new vehicles.
While many of NASCAR's stars were on the track, many like last season’s Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski were not. Only previous winners of the event and pole winners from last season comprised the 19-car field.
At the 15 lap mark, Tony Stewart clipped Marcus Ambrose, causing a reaction from the cars behind him. Seven cars were tangled up in the ensuing crash caused the first caution flag of the race halfway through the first segment.
All seven of those big-name drivers were also disappointed while watching the rest of the race from the sidelines thanks to the early crash. They were kept out of the race due to the damage to their cars.
Tony Stewart, whose aggressiveness may have sparked the wreck, ended segment one in the lead at the end of 30 laps.
Remember, fans voted to require all drivers to pit at the end of the first segment for four new tires.
Segment two continued despite the drop of those seven drives from the race. The stage ended with Kevin Harvick in the lead.
Harvick held onto that lead, too, until the checkered flag after warding off a late surge by Greg Biffle and Stewart.
Race Winner—Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing
Harvick, who won the next-to-last race of the season in Phoenix, has now won three of the last five Sprint Unlimited races. The win gives his team their eighth overall win at this race, the most by any team in the history of the event.
Results and Times
*All times and positions courtesy of Fox Sports
**Times listed are for the cars’ final lap times
|9||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||45.745||75|
|10||56||Martin Truex Jr.||45.481||75|
|11||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||46.807||75|