Kevin Harvick wins Richmond Nationwide Series race; Johanna Long impressesin first half

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 07: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 Armour Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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...

Audiovisual

Final Laps: Harvick makes history at Richmond (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

Victory Lane: Kevin Harvick (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

Race Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 3 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Armour 0 250 Running
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
7 11 51 Ty Dillon Chevrolet Wesco 0 250 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
11 15 30 James Buescher Chevrolet ABF 0 250 Running
12 12 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 32/0 250 Running
13 10 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 31/0 250 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
24 22 4 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet stjude.org 20/0 250 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
27 40 39 Dexter Stacey Ford MattiesPlaceRocks.com 17/0 248 Running
28 7 11 Brian Scott Toyota Dollar General 16/0 246 Running
29 24 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 15/0 218 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
* Denotes Rookie
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