HENDRICK NAILS NIGHT SETUP FOR THREE TOP-FIVE FINISHES
Jeff Gordon held off Kevin Harvick over the final laps and went on to win the 5-hour Energy 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night.
The victory was the first of the year for the four-time champion and his third at Kansas Speedway.
The win was his first since Martinsville last fall and it earned him a place in the record book as the first winner of a night race at the track.
Harvick finished second after leading the most laps in the race.
Kasey Kahne, Gordon's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, finished third while Joey Logano was fourth. Fifth was a third Hendrick driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
HARVICK SLOW ON PIT ROAD TO LOSE LEAD, WIN
Harvick broke clean from his pole position on the start and began to move out. By Lap 15 of the 267-lap event, he had a two-plus second lead. Behind him, the field was well spread out. By Lap 33, the lead was three seconds.
He would lead 89 laps in dominating fashion during the first half of the race.
However, the night went bad for Harvick when a spin by Marcos Ambrose on Lap 110 produced a caution. Harvick had pitted as the leader six laps earlier while most of the rest of the field did not. That put him a lap off the pace. He did get the free pass but when the race went green, was outside of the top 15.
Harvick was not done, however. He slowly worked his way back forward and on a restart on Lap 195, climbed to third place. On a restart on Lap 207, he restarted second, below leader Joey Logano, and moved back to the lead between Turns 3 and 4.
He lost the lead to Gordon during green flag pit stops 40 laps from the end and could never get back to the lead.
"At the end, we ran out of gas coming to pit road there, and I was looking at the fuel pressure gauge instead of the tach and lost a bunch of time down pit road and off of pit road, wound up getting stuck behind the 24," Harvick said.
PATRICK OVERCOMES SLOW STOP FOR BEST CAREER FINISH
Rounding out the top 10 were Carl Edwards, Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth.
Patrick had by far her most impressive effort on a non-restrictor plate track. She started ninth, hung tough for the first half of the race and then began moving forward. On Lap 162, she blew past both Tony Stewart and Earnhardt and moved to third place.
A slow pit stop during a caution that occurred on Lap 177 knocked her back to seventh but again, she hung tough to earn her best NASCAR Sprint Cup finish.
NASCAR News Wire contributed to this story.
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