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Harvick goes hammer down to win Nationwide race

Kevin Harvick played spoiler in a two-car battle between Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch last Friday night, speeding away on a restart to win the John R. Elliott Hero Campaign NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Keselowski and Busch — who finished second and third, respectively — are the lone two drivers competing in the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series during Kentucky’s triple header.

Busch, who won the Truck Series race on Thursday, led 35 consecutive laps with six to go before a caution bunched up the field. Harvick rocketed away on the restart, leaving Busch to battle with Keselowski. That enabled Harvick to pull away for his 42nd Nationwide Series event.

“I kind of told myself I wasn’t going to let off the gas pedal (on the last restart),” Harvick said. “Whatever happens happens. … I don’t know what happened to (Busch) on the last restart. My car went through there like it was on a rail.”

Beavercreek native and Liberty Twp. resident Gary Keller fielded two cars in the race as part owner of JD Motorsports. Landon Cassill raced as high as sixth with 50 laps to go before finishing 13th. Jeffrey Earnhardt finished 23rd for JD Motorsports and Keller.

Triple Crown threat: Carl Edwards entered Saturday racing for a Kentucky Speedway Triple Crown. His first NASCAR victory came in a Camping World Truck Series win on July 12, 2003. He added a Nationwide victory on June 18, 2005. He started 23rd in Saturday’s Quaker State 400.

“Kentucky is a driver’s race track and really a lot of fun,” Edwards said. “To me, to win there, there’s a lot of pride there because of how tough of a race track it is.”

Home, sweet, home: There are two stops to make at Daytona International Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway before NASCAR visits Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400.

No matter how far he travels, though, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is always close to Indiana native Tony Stewart’s heart. Kentucky Speedway is growing on him, too.

“(Indy) is kind of a home track to us, and that’s kind of the feeling we have going into it,” Stewart said. “Even though Indy has always been my home track in the past, now having Kentucky Speedway there, it’s as much home to me as Indy. We’re definitely looking forward to it. Plus, it’s an area that has deep racing roots. There are a lot of dirt-track racing roots around Kentucky.”

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