Kevin Harvick held off Ryan Newman in a thrilling finish Sunday to win the Sprint Cup championship with a victory at the Ford EcoBoost 400.
Here’s how it went down:
Harvick Came From Behind Down the Stretch to Pass Denny Hamlin
Harvick was in sixth place with Denny Hamlin leading down the stretch when Harvick made a late surge to the front of the pack, passing Hamlin and then holding off a furious challenge from Newman, who had lagged toward the middle of the crowd throughout much of the race as he tried to compete an improbable run to the title.
Hamlin, who led for 50 laps, finished seventh. Joey Logano, who — along with Harvick, Newman and Hamlin, had a chance to win the Cup — finished 16th.
Denny Hamlin Led With 50 Laps to Go
Denny Hamlin led with 50 laps to go, putting him in prime position to win the race and the Cup. Jeff Gordon was second, but Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano were both in the top 5, with Ryan Newman joining them in the top 10.
Tony Stewart Finished His 1st Winless Season
Tony Stewart, who went through the worst season of his life for reasons having nothing to do with his lack of success in the Sprint Cup standings, went to the garage, completing his first winless season in 16 years as a driver.
Stewart’s struggles in NASCAR coincided with a year in which the former Sprint Cup champion struck and killed driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a dirt track race in upstate New York in August.
The 4 Contenders for the Cup Were All in the Top 5 at the Midway Point
As we head into the second half of the race, NASCAR couldn’t ask for a more dramatic finish. All four contenders for the Cup are running in the top 5, with Denny Hamlin running first, Joey Logano second, Kevin Harvick third and Ryan Newman fifth through 174 laps.
Jeff Gordon, who led for the majority of the first 100 laps, was fourth at that point in the race.