Harvick dominant in Atlanta Nationwide race
Rookie Chase Elliott started on the pole and led the first 36 laps before Harvick passed Elliott and then ran in front for the remaining 159 laps around this fast 1.54-mile track. It was the least amount of lead changes in a Nationwide race here.
"This thing was bad fast from the drop of the green flag," said Harvick, who drove the No. 5 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in this race. "This is just one of those racetracks where I like the challenge of everything you get to do here."
Harvick has now scored three Nationwide victories at Atlanta, which placed him in a tie with Mark Martin for most wins in the series at this track. He won this race here one year ago, leading a total of 132 laps.
It was the 43rd career Nationwide win for Harvick.
The Sprint Cup Series will run 500 miles at Atlanta on Sunday night. Harvick will start on the pole for that race, as he will attempt for a weekend-sweep here. His first career victory in Cup occurred at this track in March 2001, in just his third start. He has not won a race in the series at Atlanta since then.
"You just need to have it all go your way, and these races are hard to win," Harvick said of Sunday's Sprint Cup race. "We'll enjoy this [Nationwide win] tonight and then go from there."
Joey Logano was the only driver who challenged Harvick for the lead late in the race. Harvick beat Logano to the finish line by 0.567 seconds.
"I was catching [Harvick] there at the end, but I don't know how much he was hanging out or just trying something out there," Logano said. "I was trying pretty hard. I wish there was another seven or eight more laps. Maybe I could have got to him."
Third-place Kyle Larson crossed the line 15.3 seconds behind Harvick. Kyle Busch was never a factor in this race, as he finished fourth. Elliott ended up placing fifth.
Elliott, who hails from nearby Dawsonville, Georgia and is the 18-year old son of former NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, increased his points lead from 13 to 15 over second-place and JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith, who finished sixth.
Brian Scott, David Ragan, Ty Dillon and Elliott Sadler completed the top-10.
Dillon is 35 points behind Elliott, while Sadler trails by 48.
There were just two cautions in this 300-mile race, and both of them were for debris on track. The second caution, though, was extended to 13 laps due to light rain that fell on the track at that time.