Harvick wins the Auto Club 400 with a last lap pass

[media-credit name=”Patrick McBride” align=”alignright” width=”273″][/media-credit]Kevin Harvick led one lap in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway and it was the most important one, the last one.

Harvick passed Jimmie Johnson on the final turn to win his first race of the season and the 15th of his Sprint Cup career.

“You know those guys (Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson) started racing and they got side-by-side and we were able to pull up in there. The more cycles that got on our tires, the better off we were. But I was really nervous about that last call staying out but it all worked out in our favor and we were able to make up ground.” Harvick said.

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Kyle Busch dominated the race by leading a race-high of 151 laps but he didn’t have the car after a late caution flag.

“It’s just we give it up, you know. We gave the race away today, unfortunately. We seem to be losing the handle a little bit two runs from the end and especially that last set of tires.” Busch said.

Johnson passed Busch for the lead with three laps remaining. But Harvick was right behind both drivers just waiting to make his move. Harvick also passed Busch and pulled right up on Johnson’s bumper, setting up his last lap pass for the win.

“It reminded me of last year in the Spring race, you know. Just didn’t hold him off that time. Those tires made the difference. I knew he was coming, they said he was coming. If I could have got by the No. 18 maybe a lap sooner that might have been enough to give him the margin I needed. Just way loose. I was driving my butt off just trying to keep this Lowe’s Chevrolet up front but it didn’t pan out.” Johnson said.

Denny Hamlin led 15 laps before having engine problems and eventually went out of the race. Joey Logano also had engine problems and had to switch engines before Sunday’s race. Joe Gibbs Racing has had engine problems in all five races this season.

Busch finished third, Matt Kenseth fourth and Ryan Newman finished fifth.

“It is a good day for us. You are always greedy and want more. I was the first guy on tires and I didn’t do probably as good a job as I needed to on the restart. It just took awhile to get there.” Kenseth said.

“We had some bad pit stops and they we under green fortunately at least one time I should say for sure I shouldn’t say two. Tony Gibson made a great call staying out. Just really proud of the U.S. Army Chevrolet and everybody at Stewart-Hass Racing giving us the opportunity.” Newman said.

Unofficial Race Results

Auto Club 400, Auto Club Speedway
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Pos. No. Driver Make Pts.
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1 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 47
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 43
3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 43
4 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 40
5 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 40
6 99 Carl Edwards Ford 38
7 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 38
8 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 36
9 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota 35
10 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 35
11 16 Greg Biffle Ford 33
12 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 32
13 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 32
14 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 30
15 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 29
16 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 28
17 22 Kurt Busch Dodge 27
18 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 26
19 0 David Reutimann Toyota 25
20 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 24
21 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 24
22 6 David Ragan Ford 22
23 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 21
24 9 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 0
25 20 Joey Logano Toyota 19
26 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 18
27 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 17
28 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 16
29 13 Casey Mears Toyota 15
30 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 0
31 34 David Gilliland Ford 13
32 71 Andy Lally * Chevrolet 12
33 32 Ken Schrader Ford 11
34 7 Robby Gordon Dodge 10
35 38 Travis Kvapil Ford 0
36 37 Tony Raines Ford 8
37 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 7
38 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 6
39 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 6
40 60 Todd Bodine Toyota 0
41 46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 4
42 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 0
43 66 Michael McDowell Toyota 1

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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