by Brian Turrel
Kevin Harvick knew something had to change and he was willing to take some risks for the win in the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday evening. When he pitted after a wreck and race stoppage with just a few laps remaining, he asked for four tires.
The extra time in the pits dropped him to sixth place when racing resumed, and Harvick “thought it was over.” However, the extra grip let him drive aggressively into the corners, so close that observers in the press box thought he scraped the wall.
Harvick’s daring driving moved him back to second after one lap, and he passed leader Martin Truex Jr. on the next to last lap.
“I said, ‘I’m going to drive it into the next corner. I’ve got five laps to go. I’m going to drive it in here and I’m either going to hit the wall or it’s going to turn.'”
The race was stopped on lap 253 when William Byron, Clint Bowyer, and Ryan Newman tangled in turn 4, creating a pileup that eventually collected seven cars.
The wreck was set up by a restart following contact between Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson that sent Blaney into the wall and out of the race.
Harvick started the race from the pole, but gave way in the early going. Blaney was in the lead at the end of Stage 1 (80 laps), and Larson took Stage 2 (160 laps).
Harvick now has five victories this season, the most ever after 12 races. This is his third victory at Kansas Speedway. He previously won the 2013 and 2016 Hollywood Casino 400.
The Monster Energy Cup series will return to Kansas Speedway on Oct. 21 at the Hollywood Casino 400.