Kevin Harvick led 159 laps Friday night to win the Great Clips 300 to benefit Feed The Children, his second straight NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was Harvick's third career Nationwide win at the superspeedway, tying him with Mark Martin for the track's all-time win leader.
"It's just one of those race tracks where I like the challenge of everything you get to do here, and (crew chief) Ernie (Cope) and I have found a great setup here over the years, and it's still working today," Harvick said. "This thing was bad-fast. The car was flawless."
Joey Logano came on strong at the end to finish second, while Kyle Larson was third.
"The last six, seven laps the light switched turned on and I started catching him, and I just ran out of time," Logano said. "I wish there was five or seven more laps - I could have got to him and tried to do something with him. We were catching him two to three tenths a lap there at the end, having some fun with it, but (it was) too little, too late."
The win was Harvick's third of the season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, leaving crew chief Cope to wish he had the veteran for a full season. Instead, Cope has several different drivers taking turns at the helm of the No. 5 car, forcing him to set up the car completely different based on each driver's different driving style.
"I love racing with Kevin," Cope said. "You know you've always got a chance to win when he's driving the car. We got done with practice last night, and I said, 'Are we all right?' And he said, 'I'm gonna smash 'em tomorrow night.'"
It's that kind of confidence, along with his domination on track, that makes team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. happy to have Harvick as part of the team, regardless how big or small the role.
"He's not only a great driver who gets in and drives the heck out of it, but he raises the whole company, and that's pretty unique," Earnhardt Jr. said.
Chase Elliott started on the pole position and fell back as he fought loose conditions throughout the night, finishing fifth position as the top rookie of the race.
"We started off good, and just kind of waited on the 5 (Harvick) to get there, and then when he did, just tried to learn a little bit from him," Elliott said. "I feel like we did."
Racing action continues Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500, slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. Great seats are available for a thrilling night of racing action by calling (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visiting atlantamotorspeedway.com.