The All-Star festivities went well for one Kevin Harvick on Saturday night as he held off hard-charging Daniel Suarez and Joey Logano on his way to winning the $ 1 million dollar prize for winning the NASCAR All-Star event.
The NASCAR Open started the night off as # 88 Alex Bowman won the opening stage to add his name to the All-Star event. # 19 Daniel Suarez held off # 9 Chase Elliott in the 2nd stage to advance. And the final stage and the NASCAR Open winner was # 47, AJ Allmendinger, as he passed Elliott late to earn the victory and his spot in the All-Star race. For the third consecutive year, Chase Elliott earned the NASCAR Fan Vote and would start 21st in the All-Star event.
# 6 Matt Kenseth earned the pole for the event in an interesting qualification, where the drivers had to run three laps and make a pit stop, and there was no speed limit on pit road, the Roush cars of Kenseth and # 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr took advantage of this and claimed the front row.
Stage One: # 6 Kenseth led the field to the green flag, but # 17 Stenhouse was pushed to the lead early in the 30 lap stage when # 41 Kurt Busch went for a spin three laps in to bring out the first caution. Kevin Harvick was able to get the lead on the restart and looked like he would be the one to beat. The Ford’s in the field looked the strongest. With nine laps to go in stage one, a battle for second between #18 Kyle Busch and # 78 Martin Truex Jr was raging as Harvick continued to lead. Kevin Harvick holds off Truex to win stage one. # 47 J Allmendinger was able to climb from the back of the field all the way to finish stage one in fourth. Harvick led 25 of 30 laps in the first stage.
Stage Two: This quick twenty lap stage went by quick and without incident, as # 18 Kyle Busch was able to lead 19 of the 20 laps to claim the stage two win. He was able to gain the lead during the stage one caution pit stops, due to Kevin Harvick having a slower stop then Busch. The only real issue during this second stage was when # 47 Allmendinger got in the wall and was forced to pit. # 19 Daniel Suarez was second in the stage followed by # 42 Kyle Larson.
Stage Three: Yet another 20 lap stage, except this time around many cars, hit some road bumps that ended many of the major contenders of the night. # 95 Kasey Kahne had a spin midway through stage three and was able to make it to the pitlane for repairs, and fell one lap down. With # 19 Daniel Suarez at the front with about four laps to go # 88 Alex Bowman got loose and spun into the wall ending his first ever All-Star race. This forced a two-lap overtime at the end of stage three. A huge multi-car wreck, synonymous with restrictor plate races occurred at the end of the stage knocking out many of the biggest contenders of the night.
Those involved included # 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr, # 78 Martin Truex Jr, #18 Kyle Busch, # 14 Clint Bowyer, # 2 Brad Keselowski, and # 41 Kurt Busch, of those involved Kyle Busch was the only one to continue in the race.
# 4 Harvick was able to get around # 19 Suarez to win Stage three. Due to that big wreck. The fourth and final stage was extended to race a grand total of 92 laps instead of the original 80.
Stage Four: This final 10 lap shootout, would have to have 10 green flag lap to be finished. Kevin Harvick pulled away as the final stage began, but an accident involving top five runners # 22 Joey Logano and # 42 Kyle Larson forced a yellow flag and brought out a final two-lap shootout to decide the winner. Kevin took advantage of the restart and held off a hard-charging Daniel Suarez to win the All-Star race and the million dollar prize. Fan-vote winner # 9 Chase Elliott climbed to a fifth-place finish.
The Top 10:
1. # 4 Kevin Harvick
2. # 19 Daniel Suarez
3. # 22 Joey Logano
4. # 11 Denny Hamlin
5. # 9 Chase Elliott
6. # 48 Jimmie Johnson
7. # 42 Kyle Larson
8. # 47 AJ Allmendinger
9. # 18 Kyle Busch
10. # 95 Kasey Kahne
# 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 11th, # 3 Austin Dillon 12th, # 1 Jamie McMurray 13th, # 6 Matt Kenseth 14th, # 12 Ryan Blaney 15th, # 31 Ryan Newman 16th, # 78 Martin Truex Jr 17th, # 41 Kurt Busch 18th, # 14 Clint Bowyer 19th, # 2 Brad Keselowski 20th and # 88 Alex Bowman rounded out the field finishing 21st.
Kevin Harvick looks pretty unbeatable yet again. He won the All-Star race for the second time in his career, and for the first time since 2007.
Check out NASCAR’s longest race next Sunday the Coca-Cola 600 along with Indycar’s Indianapolis 500 where driver Danica Patrick will make her final start of her auto racing career, and Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix for the annual tripleheader of racing.