By: Adam Niemeyer
Kevin Harvick has a flair for the dramatic, no one will doubt that. Last week he passed Jimmie Johnson on the final lap in the final turn to win at California.
With four laps to go at Martinsville, it looked like Dale Earnhardt Jr. was going to snap a 98-race winless streak. But the man who took over driving for Earnhardt's father in 2001 was able to get by NASCAR's most popular driver, and win the Goody's 500 at Martinsville.
"I didn't think we had the car to do that," said Harvick in victory lane. "I had a lot of fun racing with Dale Jr. and I hate to be the bad guy."
Harvick became the first driver to win multiple races this season. Up to this point, five different drivers had visited victory lane in five NASCAR Sprint Cup races.
Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson had won every race at NASCAR's shortest track since October of 2006, but Harvick changed all that with a bump and run on Earnhardt Jr., just like the moves his father made at the short-track in Virginia.
Earnhardt Jr. held off Kyle Busch for second. Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth and Jeff Gordon finished fifth. Busch led 151 laps on the day, the most of any driver in the field.
"I'm frustrated that I got close and I was thinking, ‘I'm going to get a clock,'" Earnhardt Jr. said after the race.
Tires were a concern heading into the day, but other than a few contact-related blowouts, the Goodyear tires held up well.
There were a race record 34 lead changes amongst 13 drivers, and 11 cautions for 73 laps.
A red flag stopped action for 25 minutes when Martin Truex Jr.'s throttle stuck and he rammed Kasey Kahne into the third turn wall, damaging the SAFER barrier.
"I've got to thank NASCAR and all the people who put up these soft walls," said Truex. "Ten years ago I wouldn't be standing here."
Busch took over the points lead, and now sits five points ahead of Carl Edwards who finished 18th, the final car on the lead lap.
Next week the Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway. The green flag drops shortly after 7:30 p.m. on FOX19.