Kevin Harvick cruises to Xfinity Series win at Fontana
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Harvick apparently isn’t satisfied with dominating just one NASCAR race series this year.
Harvick earned his second Xfinity Series win of his phenomenal season Saturday, easily holding off Brendan Gaughan at Auto Club Speedway.
Harvick led 100 of the 150 laps in his JR Motorsports Chevrolet while cruising to victory on the 2-mile oval in his native California.
“We’ve been close to winning here before, but today was a day that was pretty much flawless from start to finish,” Harvick said. “Everything is clicking right now, and you’ve just got to keep riding the wave.”
Harvick is hanging ten on a tidal wave lately: He has won two Sprint Cup Series races and finished second in the other two heading into Sunday’s race. He also won the Xfinity race at Atlanta, and finished third in his only other start.
The record is intimidating, but Harvick is making it look fairly easy. He was 3.317 seconds ahead of Gaughan on Saturday, suggesting the Sprint Cup field should be even more wary of the field’s streaking leader.
“A lot of fun to drive the race cars right now,” Harvick said. “For me as the driver, making laps around this place and knowing what seam does what ... I feel like the more laps I can make, the better off I’m going to be tomorrow.”
Although Harvick was the only Sprint Cup driver who finished in the top seven, 12 Sprint Cup drivers ran the Xfinity Fontana race this weekend to gain familiarity with NASCAR’s new rules package on a 2-mile track.
“Kevin is automatic pretty much every time he gets in the car,” team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “He does a great job. We’re looking forward to what he’s going to do the rest of the year. He’s going to be in the car several times. Obviously he’s an amazing race car driver.”
The 39-year-old Gaughan had a career-best finish in second place, but the former Georgetown basketball walk-on hoped in vain for a late chance to blast past the dominant car.
“You can never say you’re going to beat Kevin Harvick on a restart, but man, I would have loved a shot,” Gaughan said. “His Chevrolet was on a mission today.”
Harvick is the 20th straight Sprint Cup driver to win the Xfinity race at Fontana. Kyle Larson, the defending champion, finished seventh after holding off Harvick on the final lap last year.
Pole sitter Erik Jones finished third, and Chase Elliott was fourth. Chris Buescher sits second in the Xfinity points standings after finishing fifth, just five points behind overall leader Ty Dillon, who was 14th at Fontana.