Kevin Harvick Wins the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway – in NASCAR’s Return Back to Action
The NASCAR Cup Series held its first race after a two-month break due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This race was at Darlington Raceway without fans. Even though it seemed off due to the lack of fans in attendance, it was therapeutic for many fans, drivers, and all workers within NASCAR operations. It was a sight for sore eyes to watch NASCAR racing again.
Brad Keselowski brought the field to the green flag to begin the race. It did not take long for the first caution to wave. However. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wrecking coming out of turn two after taking the field four-wide onto the backstretch.
After a quick cleanup, the field reset and went at it again. Keselowski continues to lead. The competition caution came out on lap 30, and this was a much-needed opportunity for teams to make adjustments to their cars. Keselowski jumped back out into the lead, but it was Alex Bowman who stayed with him and stole the lead on the following lap.
Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson both moved to the first and second positions as Keselowski faded out of the picture. With eight laps remaining in the stage, Johnson took control of the lead. Jimmie Johnson was unable to capture the stage win, however, as he made contact with Chris Buescher and spun out on the front stretch. William Byron made the pass and won the first stage of the race.
Kevin Harvick won the race off pit road and took the green flag to kick off the second stage. Drivers could not settle down during the stage two run. Four caution flags were flown for various reasons. William Byron wrecked early in the stage. Daniel Suarez wrecked 15 laps later. A debris caution was flown due to a banner on the safer-barrier peeling off onto the racing surface.
Kevin Harvick was able to hold his lead through all of this except for the end. Brad Keselowski returned with a vengeance and making a pass with eight laps remaining in the stage. Keselowski would not look back and claiming the victory in the second stage.
Brad Keselowski surged to the lead to begin stage three with Alex Bowman right behind. The two would race each other hard before Chris Buescher spins around on the backstretch. The field regrouped for another restart, and this time it was Kevin Harvick who jumped to the lead. With Harvick at the helm, the field went through a long green-flag run.
Before anyone could make a move to begin the green-flag pit cycle, Ryan Newman had a tire go down causing him to spin around entering turn one. The field moved down pit road for one final stop and it was Kevin Harvick winning the race off pit road.
After a crazy restart with Harvick and Bowman battling for the top spot, Harvick was able to get clearance on Bowman and hold down the lead. This all the Stewart Haas Racing driver needed to secure the victory. Kevin Harvick Wins The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway.
Despite a two-month break, the same trends still seem to run its course. Hendrick Motorsports had a strong outing once again. Despite Jimmie Johnson and William Byron wrecking out of contention. All HMS drivers were running inside the top-ten in the first stage. Alex Bowman had a second-place finish and Chase Elliott received a fourth-place finish. This proves that after a few years of struggle Hendrick Motorsports found some young guys that can compete.
NASCAR has officially returned, and it is great to see all the racing teams excited to come back to the track. The schedule is busy for the series to pick up where they left off. For the Cup Series, they will be running seven more races over the rest of this month to catch up. By June 21, there are 20 races at seven southern states on the schedule The Cup Series field will return back to Darlington Wednesday night for the second race before going to Charlotte Motor Speedway.