FORT WORTH, Texas — The grizzled veteran held off the hard charging rookie Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick led 127 of 200 laps and beat rookie Ryan Blaney by 1.6 seconds to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Driving the Richard Childress Racing No. 33, Harvick won for the second time this season. It was his 39th career Nationwide Series victory.
Blaney, sitting in for Brad Keselowski in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge, blasted his way toward the front in the closing laps but didn’t have enough to run down Harvick, but posted his career-best finish in the series.
Kyle Busch finished third with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five.
Stenhouse moved into a tie atop the standings with Elliott Sadler, who finished 11th, with only two races remaining.
“It doesn’t really matter now,” Stenhouse said. “We have to be leading after Homestead. That is still our goal and still what we have our eye on. We have gained some points the last two weeks which is good and you saw last year that if you tie it goes to the most wins and I think we have that covered right now and we will keep plugging away.”
Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr., Justin Allgaier, Kevin Swindell and Joey Logano completed the top five.
There were 11 lead changes among five drivers and five yellow flags for 22 laps in a race that was completed in two hours, six minutes and 50 seconds.