KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kevin Harvick didn’t simply have his hands full with the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field Sunday. He also was trying to cope with a quirky surface at Kansas Speedway.
He handled both better than anybody else.
Harvick pulled away from Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon on a late restart to win a wreck-filled Hollywood Casino 400 over the recently repaved track, keeping his No. 29 Chevrolet out of trouble and making a big move in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
“It was an interesting weekend, to say the least,” said Harvick, who moved into third in points behind leader Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson with six races left. “Everybody was battling the tires and the track, and I think it was like driving on a razor blade.”
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Harvick started from the pole for the first time in 254 races. He also won the last time he qualified first, at New Hampshire in 2006.
“To have a car fast enough for me to qualify on the pole says a lot about how fast this thing is,” he said.
Busch was second.
Johnson, who finished sixth, is three points behind Kenseth, who was 11th. Harvick is 25 points behind Kenseth.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was 13th and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw finished 15th.
Biffle is sixth in the standings; Kahne is 13th.
There were 15 caution flags and they were out for 71 of the 267 laps.
“All in all, just a crazy day,” Johnson said.
“Wacky restarts, a lot of chaos there and caution after caution for who knows what.”
Franchitti is injured in crash
HOUSTON – Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti fractured two vertebrae and broke his right ankle when his car went airborne into a fence on the last lap of the Grand Prix of Houston.
The accident showered debris into the grandstand, injuring 13 fans and an IndyCar Series official.
Franchitti, who also has a concussion, was transported by ambulance to a hospital.
The four-time series champion had surgery on his ankle and was being held overnight.
Of the injured fans, two were taken to a hospital for treatment, a fire-department spokesman said.
Will Power won the race and Scott Dixon took control of the points race.
• Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel’s relentless push toward a seemingly inevitable fourth straight Formula One title continued with a victory at the Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam.
The Lotus pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finished two-three.
• John Force, 64, raced to his second straight Funny Car victory to open a 65-point lead with two events left in the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.
Other winners at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals in Mohnton, Pa., were Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).