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Kevin Harvick wins NASCAR Auto Club 400 in fantastic finish

March 27, 2011 |  3:10 pm


The Auto Club Speedway in Fontana has often been criticized for the type of boring racing it promotes. There is just something about the track that causes little passing, meaning little excitement.

Sunday's Auto Club 400 did nothing to dispel that notion -- at least until the last five laps. It was Kyle Busch's day as he dominated from the start. But, after a restart, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick were right there with him.

Kyle Busch lost the lead with a couple laps to go to Johnson, and then Harvick wouldn't give up and passed Johnson coming down the final homestretch on the white flag lap.

It was an incredible finish to a day that epitomized the axiom "watching cars go around in circles."

The set up to the finish started with 15 laps to go. Bobby Labonte caused only the fourth caution of the day. But because Labonte's car came to rest near the entrance of pit road, the pits could not be opened for several laps. So, when the pits were opened with only 12 laps to go, the top seven drivers stayed out on the track.

The race went green with nine laps to go. Johnson looked for about half-a-lap like he was going to stay with Kyle Busch. But, alas, Busch gained momentum in the turns and held on until Johnson reeled him in with three laps to go.

As for Harvick, he was given credit for leading only one lap -- the final one.


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--John Cherwa

Photo: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick enjoys the spoils of victory at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday: a big trophy and a cold beer. Credit: Walt Weis / Associated Press