Kevin Harvick had the strongest car in the Sam's Town 350, though the win wouldn't come easy. When it came time to making pit stops, that's when the trouble started.
Right on the first lap, Harvick took the lead, held off his competitors through the first two cautions. Green flag pit stops commenced at lap 56 and concluded at lap 78. Harvick's pit crew didn't perform up to expectations as he went from the lead to forth. As said by his wife Delana Harvick on twitter (@DelanaHarvick), "@kevinharvick not happy w/ car or pit crew."
When the caution came out at lap 83, Harvick hit pit road again, falling out of the top five as his crew had more issues. By lap 119, he showed the strength of his car as he moved back up to fifth and third by lap 133.
With 50 to go, his pit crew pulled up a good stop as they kept him fourth, though there was also some strategy that played out on pit road for Harvick. According to Joe Gibbs Racing PR on their twitter page (@JoeGibbsRacing), "The 33 backed it off on pit road so that Kyle would pass him and allow the 33 to restart on the outside line."
Harvick wouldn't get the start he needed though as he ended up in a three-wide battle that kicked him back to sixth. He worked his way back up to second and at the caution with 30 laps to go, he sat second.
Race leader Denny Hamlin chose to start on the outside so Harvick took to the inside. Harvick got a run through the final corner and never looked back, winning the race 1.7 seconds over Hamlin to gain Chevrolet their 350th win in the Nationwide Series.
In victory lane, Harvick acknowledged that he had the dominant car, though his pit crew needed some work.
"The car was really fast," said Harvick, who led a race-high 82 laps, most of them early in the race before getting burned by the lackluster work in the pits. "We've definitely got some work to do on pit road, but, fortunately, the car was fast enough.
"I get mad, and they [the crew] know how I am and what I expect of them...But you can only gripe about it so long, and then you have to go back and drive the car."
Carl Edwards took third place, followed by Brad Keselowski, Brian Vickers, Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Paul Menard, Greg Biffle, and Steve Wallace.
IZOD Indy star Danica Patrick continued to improve her stock car skills as she ran better this week than last, though finished 36th after a wreck with Michael McDowell. Patrick went under to pass the ill-handling car of McDowell's when McDowell cut down in front of her, causing them to make contact, as he thought she was going to the outside to pass him.
"Unfortunately, we got caught in a situation where there was a driver who wasn't looking and a spotter who wasn't spotting," Patrick said after the wreck.
"It was completely 100-percent my fault," McDowell said. "The closing rate was so much, there just wasn't much time to make a decision."