Photo courtesy of NASCAR
Atlanta Motor Speedway started the day by adorning the grandstands with 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson’s name alongside Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
When all was said and done, however, the day belonged to Kevin Harvick. Harvick dominated the QuikTrip 500 on Sunday to double his win total for the season.
Chase Elliott started on the pole and maintained the lead until the first competition caution, when Joey Logano left pit road with the lead. William Byron suffered a flat tire, hit the wall, and had to stop on pit road on lap 34 while running 14th. Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick both ran Busch Light #ForTheFarmers paint schemes, with yellow and blue primary colors individually. Harvick took the lead on lap 38 to reach the 10,000-laps lead milestone.
With under 20 laps left in Stage 1, Martin Truex Jr. used his fresher set tires to overtake the lead from Harvick. Those two were running over 10 seconds faster than the rest of the field. Mooresville native John Hunter Nemechek brought out the second caution of the day on lap 95. He spun out untouched, giving Matt Dibenedetto the free pass. Truex won Stage 1, followed by Kyle Busch and Bowyer. It was Truex’s first stage win of the 2020 season.
Bowyer started Stage 2 by taking the lead, thanks to a push by Busch’s purple M&M’s “Fudge Brownie” No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota. With 50 laps remaining in Stage 2, Brad Keselowski took the lead after most of the field went in for a green flag pit stop. That lead would only last until Keselowski pitted, ceding the lead to Bowyer. Bowyer’s crew chief advised him to make his tires last the remainder of the stage. Bowyer sacrificed speed – and ultimately the lead – to Truex on lap 185. With nine laps remaining, Michael McDowell’s No. 34 spun into the grass coming off Turn 4 by Nemechek’s No. 38.
Harvick’s Stewart-Haas No. 4 dominated late in Atlanta for his second victory of the 2020 NASCAR season. It’s his third win at Atlanta, and the 51st of his career. Harvick led 151 of the race’s 325 laps.
The next Cup race will be Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET, at Martinsville Speedway for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.