By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
Kevin Harvick had the right idea.
The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion believed the late-race pushing and shoving would get the outside lane moving for the first time in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
That’s exactly what happened. But as Harvick was making a run to the front, Denny Hamlin slid his No. 11 Toyota in front of Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet and rode the momentum to the front of the field, ultimately winning the Great American Race by .010 seconds over Martin Truex Jr.
Harvick finished fourth behind Hamlin, Truex and Kyle Busch. That he was in the mix at the end is a credit to his formidable talent, given that Harvick made a brilliant save on Lap 18 when his car turned sideways in Turn 4.
“I wanted to be the first car in that outside line, because I really thought they would really start pushing and shoving like they did and finally get some momentum coming toward the end of the race,” Harvick said.
“Denny saw that momentum and was able to jump up in front of us. You look at our day—that first big slide. We could have been on the wrecker pretty early in this race.”
Image: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images