Harvick Holds off Dillon to Win Southern 500


Kevin Harvick won the Cook Out Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway on Sunday night to win the first race of NASCAR’s Playoffs.

Harvick inherited the lead late in the race after the two front-runners made contact racing for the lead.  With the laps winding down, Chase Elliott was doing his best to hold off Martin Truex Jr.  When Truex drove hard into the corner, the two made contact and slammed into the wall.

Truex pitted with a flat tire as Elliott limped around trying to nurse the car to the finish, and Harvick was able to take the lead.

Harvick said he was excited to start off the Playoffs with a victory without having the fastest car.

Chris Keane/Getty Images

“Wound up fighting all night long,” Harvick said.  “This Busch Beer Ford Mustang wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but leaders got tangled up there.  Next thing you know, we’re racing for the win.”

Harvick had to hold off a charge from Austin Dillon in the closing laps.  As Harvick’s car got tighter over the final 10 laps, Dillon was able to pull within a half-second but couldn’t make the pass.

Dillon drove the car hard into the final corner, but came up just short on getting to Harvick’s back bumper.

Dillon said he was trying everything he could do to win and lock himself into the next round of the Playoffs.

“I was just trying all I could,” Dillon said.  “It’d have been nice to get that win and lock ourselves in the next round.  Heck of a finish for our whole Number 3 team.”

Dillon started the Playoffs as an underdog, and started the race below the cutoff line.  Leaving Darlington, Dillon now sits eighth in the standings, 10 points above the cutoff with two races remaining.

Dillon said his team has worked all season to perform when it mattered most.

“We showed up when it mattered,” Dillon said.  “A lot of people count you out, but I don’t count myself out or this team.  We’re just going to keep doing our thing.”

“We’ve just got to keep plugging.  Richmond’s next week and we’ve got another good short track car for them.”

Unofficial results:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Austin Dillon
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Erik Jones
  5. William Byron
  6. Alex Bowman
  7. Kyle Busch
  8. Kurt Busch
  9. Aric Almirola
  10. Clint Bowyer
  11. Brad Keselowski
  12. Cole Custer
  13. Denny Hamlin
  14. Matt Kenseth
  15. Ryan Newman
  16. Michael McDowell
  17. Ryan Preece
  18. Jimmie Johnson
  19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  20. Chase Elliott
  21. Matt DiBenedetto
  22. Martin Truex Jr.
  23. Tyler Reddick
  24. Ryan Blaney
  25. Daniel Suarez
  26. Chris Buescher
  27. Ty Dillon
  28. Brennan Poole
  29. Ross Chastain
  30. JJ Yeley
  31. Quin Houff
  32. Josh Bilicki
  33. Joey Gase
  34. Christopher Bell
  35. Timmy Hill
  36. John Hunter Nemechek
  37. Corey LaJoie
  38. Bubba Wallace
  39. James Davison