There were no water bottles thrown until after the finish of this week's Nationwide Series race at Richmond, as Kevin Harvick finally secured his first division victory since 2010. It's been a long time coming for Harvick, who was riding a 30-race winless streak, while easily in a position to win numerous times during that stretch.
He's led the most laps five times since that last victory, but was unable to pick up the win each time, including last weekend at Atlanta.
Harvick led the most laps again on Friday, 136, but was able to pull away from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on a lap 234 restart, stretched his lead to over two seconds, and lead the rest of the way.
In defiance of last weekend's bottlegate debacle, Harvick tossed a water bottle onto the track upon commencing his burnout, mentally setting his sights on completing the sweep in Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series race.
It surely meant more to Harvick, beating Stenhouse after the reigning Nationwide Series champion beat Harvick on a restart last weekend. Kurt Busch finished third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Annett.
Despite finishing second, Friday was a banner day for Stenhouse as the Ford driver was able to capitalize on his fellow championship contenders all suffering from a myriad of issues.
Sam Hornish Jr. crashed out of the event on lap 156 after making contact with teammate Ryan Blaney and Ty Dillon. The contact sent Hornish into the turn 1 retaining wall and into the path of Timmy Hill. Their resulting collision destroyed both cars and left Hornish in 30th.
Championship leader Elliott Sadler made contact with Stenhouse on lap 186, sending Sadler's no. 2 Chevrolet backwards into the turn 3 wall. He rebounded slightly to finish 12th, good enough to retain his championship lead by a single point.
Austin Dillon finished Friday night's race in P6 and fell 30 points behind. Hornish's accident likely eliminated him from championship contention, dropping him to 50 points behind Sadler.
Harvick's victory is his 38th in the Nationwide Series and moves him into a tie with Carl Edwards for third on the all-time series win list. Kyle Busch and Mark Martin are first and second on that list with 51 and 49 wins respectively.
A note on Johanna Long, video footage, and the complete race results can be found after the jump.
The first 40 laps of the race can only be described as the Johanna Long Show. Long qualified eighth, quickly worked her way to sixth, and was fourth at the time of the first caution. She even managed to unnerve Denny Hamlin, passing the Gibbs driver for fourth just before the caution dropped. Long used the bumper to get around Hamlin, prompting Hamlin to say "Just tell me when she's coming and I'll get out of the way. She's going to drive me to Nationwide retirement."
Long has a four-member pit crew, the most ML Motorsports team could afford. Long knew that as soon as the caution dropped, so to would her track position. Passing Hamlin was a matter of making a statement to prospective car owners for next season and it was now-or-never.
Long made her case and quickly dropped to 16th on the restart. She would later record a DNF when she cut of tire and slammed into the frontstretch wall on lap 110.
It's important to note that while Long is a short track specialist, so is Hamlin. Passing the No. 18 was the highlight of Long's career, a highlight that may have netted her a look at a full-time Nationwide Series entry for the 2013 season.
I've watched Long compete in super late models for the past three years and watching her develop as a NASCAR driver has been incredibly rewarding. Here's hoping she gets to show that development in a race-winning car next season.
May Johannamania run wild...
Final Laps: Harvick makes history at Richmond (via TheOfficialNASCAR)
Victory Lane: Kevin Harvick (via TheOfficialNASCAR)
|2||1||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||43/1||250||Running|
|3||17||54||Kurt Busch||Toyota||Monster Energy||0||250||Running|
|4||6||18||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||Sport Clips||0||250||Running|
|5||13||43||Michael Annett||Ford||Pilot Flying J||39/0||250||Running|
|6||2||3||Austin Dillon *||Chevrolet||American Ethanol||39/1||250||Running|
|8||14||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM-FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves / AC General||36/0||250||Running|
|9||27||22||Ryan Blaney||Dodge||Snap-On Tools||35/0||250||Running|
|10||20||20||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Toyota||Dollar General||34/0||250||Running|
|12||12||2||Elliott Sadler||Chevrolet||OneMain Financial||32/0||250||Running|
|14||19||88||Cole Whitt *||Chevrolet||Hyland's Leg Cramps||30/0||250||Running|
|15||9||44||Mike Bliss||Chevrolet||TriStar Motorsports||29/0||250||Running|
|16||33||199||Ryan Truex||Toyota||Toyota Care||28/0||250||Running|
|17||5||60||Travis Pastrana||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||27/0||250||Running|
|18||28||40||Erik Darnell||Chevrolet||Key Motorsports||26/0||250||Running|
|19||30||19||Tayler Malsam||Toyota||G-Oil / Noah's Light Foundation||25/0||250||Running|
|20||23||38||Brad Sweet *||Chevrolet||Great Clips||24/0||250||Running|
|21||31||01||Mike Wallace||Chevrolet||JD Motorsports||24/1||250||Running|
|22||39||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||22/0||250||Running|
|23||21||81||Jason Bowles *||Dodge||therandomact.org / ITEX.net||21/0||250||Running|
|25||26||108||Paulie Harraka||Ford||Randy Hill Racing||0||250||Running|
|26||41||14||Eric McClure||Toyota||Hefty / Reynolds Wrap||18/0||250||Running|
|28||7||11||Brian Scott||Toyota||Dollar General||16/0||246||Running|
|30||4||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Detroit Genuine Parts||14/0||162||Running|
|31||32||41||Timmy Hill||Ford||Lilly Trucking CDL Driver Search||0||153||In Pit|
|32||8||70||Johanna Long *||Chevrolet||KeenParts.com||12/0||109||In Pit|
|33||35||86||Kevin Lepage||Ford||Qello Corp. / Trivette Trucking||11/0||51||In Pit|
|34||42||124||Derek White||Toyota||OCR Gaz Bar||0||45||In Pit|
|35||34||117||Tanner Berryhill||Toyota||Race City Steel / Nationalcashlenders.com||9/0||35||Running|
|36||37||175||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet||Rick Ware Racing||0||28||In Pit|
|37||43||100||Blake Koch||Chevrolet||Ruch Motorsports||7/0||18||In Pit|
|38||38||171||Carl Long||Chevrolet||Rick Ware Racing||6/0||15||In Pit|
|39||36||15||Matthew Carter||Chevrolet||Rick Ware Racing||5/0||11||In Pit|
|40||29||42||Josh Wise||Chevrolet||Key Motorsports||0||7||In Pit|
|41||25||47||J.J. Yeley||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||0||7||In Pit|
|42||16||46||Chase Miller||Chevrolet||The Motorsports Group||2/0||6||In Pit|
|43||18||10||Jeff Green||Toyota||TriStar Motorsports||1/0||3||In Pit|