HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Kevin Harvick raced to his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the year, holding off Kyle Busch on the final lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Harvick pulled ahead of Busch on the 60th lap and led 132 of the 195 laps. Busch had won six of the previous Nationwide events this year in which he also won the pole.
Sam Hornish Jr. was third, followed by Kasey Kahne, rookie Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Austin Dillon, Regan Smith and Brian Scott.
The victory marked a redemption of sorts for Harvick, who lost the lead on the final lap last year in the Nationwide event at Atlanta when Brad Keselowski bumped Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the front straightaway and Stenhouse went ahead for good in Turn 3.
Harvick finished third last year. Saturday’s victory was his 40th on the Nationwide circuit. He has made seven starts this year, and hasn’t finished lower than fifth in his last six events.
When the fourth and final caution ended, Busch moved past Kahne and was side by side with Harvick with six laps to go. Busch was a single car length back with three laps to go, but Harvick wouldn’t let him get low and never relinquished the lead.
Busch was trying to win a Nationwide event at Atlanta for the first time. He has won one Sprint Cup race and four Truck races, but now has five runner-up Nationwide finishes at Atlanta.
Busch has nine Nationwide victories this year.