Harvick Passes Earnhardt for Win

Filed under: Dale Earnhardt Jr 

Kevin Harvick was just a tick faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr as the final few laps counted down in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville. And that was all it took for Harvick to make the final pass on Earnhardt for the lead on lap 497 of 500.

Harvick knew the win wouldn’t be all that popular given that he had to beat Dale Jr for it . “I hate to be the bad guy here, but we’re in it to win it,” said Harvick.  “I’m just glad we led more than one lap this week.”

Earnhardt had gained the lead for the first time from Kyle Busch on lap 480 with an aggressive “rubbing is racing” pass. Junior put the nose of his No. 88 Chevy against the inside quarter panel of Busch’s No. 18 Toyota and refused to lift as the 2 cars entered the turn. The result was Kyle Busch getting loose up the race track and Junior going into the lead.

Did Kyle Busch think the pass by Earnhardt was a clean one? “Yeah, I was holding him up. I sucked,” said Busch. So it was good for him. I mean, he took the lead. No harm, no foul.”

Earnhardt described his pass for the lead this way: “I thought I had a nose on him getting into three and knew he was going to get down and crowd a little bit but I had to try to hold my ground. We were racing for the lead with just a few laps to go, so I think I did what any other driver probably would have done.”

The strong run by Dale Earnhardt Jr, and the disappointment he voiced in not winning after the race left no doubt that Earnhardt has the will to win. With consistent finishes near the front and a crew chief who knows how to adjust the car those wins are around the corner.

In his mind Earnhardt thought he had the race won with around 7 pals to go – as did his fans. “I was thinking at the end that I was meant to win that damn race,” Junior said. “Hell, I’m not sitting there leading that thing by seven car lengths thinking I’m about to lose.”

“I was definitely thinking I need to do what I think’s right every corner and try and win this race. I’ve got a hell of an opportunity right here and if I can put together decent laps, I might be able to keep the distance I had on him which was only about three or four car lengths.”

“We had the opportunity there to win a race, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the job done,” Dale Earnhardt Jr said. “It’ll probably bother me more and more as the night goes on. I’ll probably think about it a million times, what I could have done differently. But, you know, if I know what’s best for me, I should probably have a good attitude about what happened today.

“I’ll probably go into the next race and use it as momentum and confidence, as any other good driver would do, instead of worrying about how close we came.”

Junior reiterated his support for his new crew chief. “Steve’s a good crew chief,” said Earnhardt “and he’s going to give me more opportunities like this, I feel.”

But did Earnhardt feel like this proves he can compete and win? “Well, I ain’t really proved it to myself yet’” said Earnhardt.” I’ll let you know when I feel like I’m back, personally.”


I was impressed by Martin Truex Jr following his hard crash into the wall with a stuck throttle. A crash that took Kasey Kahne into the wall as well. Truex couldn’t get out of his car fast enough. Why? He wanted to check on Kahne and make sure he was alright.

Here’s your chance to have your say. What was your take on the race? Is Dale Jr back? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.




53 Comments on Harvick Passes Earnhardt for Win

  1. Gersham on
  2. Big Jr fan , Jr need to stop play nice he could pass back the 29 just the same way he pass the 18 , But I was very happy , can’t wait until Richmond

  3. Sharon M Miller on
  4. Loving every minute of it!
    Kevin Harvick sure knows how to race!! He’s proving to everyone just how good he is at racing!
    To those non-believers, start believing.
    He is my favorite driver, and he will win the 2011 Championship this year!!!!
    Go #29, Love ya!

  5. Eddie on
  6. Jr should have rattled his cage a bit more. Come on Jr. You need to get the spunk that your Daddy had and bust some butt man! You are the sports most popular driver! get out there and whip some candy butts!

  7. Eddie on
  8. Agreed! Jr needs to kick some butt!

  9. Paul L. Immel on
  10. When Dale gets that first win , look out he will be a tiger( not Tiger Wood) Paul

  11. Will on
  12. Look out here comes Jr. All the pieces are coming together. He finally has a decent car and a crew cheif that can adjust and get better for a change. He will win soon.


    harvick cannot race and lead the races until the end and then he lifts their car up and gets their car loose and then he wins. that is not clean racing. it will come home to him and he will be all pissy and through his little fits.

  13. wayne bratton on
  14. The pass JR made on Bush was as good as win for me.He just has to get a little bit more mean streak in him like his Dad and he could have won that race.JR is back and look out,cause he”s going to the front.All of Canada loves JR.

    I for one am very happy to see Dale Jr. out there busting his behind to win that race and was surprised when Kevin stole his thunder. Kevin reminds me of a thief in the night and robs someone’s home and steals their dignity. Kevin did the same thing last week to Jimmie Johnson.
    I am also surprised that Richard Childress(who was Dale Sr.’s boss) is proud of Kevin being a thief on the prowl by letting the other driver bust his buns all day so that Kevin can come in and take all the glory for another man’s hard work..
    I know that there are those of you who will call it “that’s racing” but is this going to go on every weekend and is this RCR’s plan for the rest of the season. If so, NASCAR can look forward to losing a whole lot of fans.

  15. Debbie, Allen, & Jeremy Broome on
  16. Definitely a JR. fan!!! The man can still drive, I’ve said that the whole time. Congrats on 2nd place….

    I believe the puzzle is just about complete.

    I don’t blame Harvick for making the pass. You’re supposed to do everything you can to win or you’re not racing.

    Junior could have made things a little harder on Harvick, but he chose not to.

  17. Barbara on
  18. I am so proud of Jr. he did a good job,everything is coming in place for him,KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK JR>Your Fans are still hanging in there with you.A true an ever Jr. fan ALWAYS

  19. Rose on
  20. good job Jr. your win is coming real soonm keep up the good work, YOU are the MAN

  21. Glenn on
  22. Right now Jr is doing what needs to be done. finish good and build confidence. He hasn’t been racing with that for a long time. This season promises to be differant. Could he have bumped and run on harvick? sure, but that ain’t his style. Remember why most people like jr. he is a clean racer and is humble. There is a reason he is not like his dad. Because he isn’t his dad. He is Dale Earnhardt Jr!

  23. lady red on
  24. Jr. is back! Going to FT. Worth Thursday and taking my lucky Jr. good luck charm….TX is good for Jr. Kinda like Harvick but not today but Jr. put the rest of them to shame, most of the “good” ones back in the pack….Nascar is alive and well when Jr. is up front, he brings the fans in and there will be a bunch in TX.

  25. Barb F. on
  26. Congrats to Harvick on another win but Jr. still has some true grit and winning will prevail not sure when but in the near future.

  27. AZomah on
  28. I am very pleased with the good day Jr. had. He did say in a post race interview that his engine was not as fast as it could have been. He now has a cc that knows what he is doing. He did move up 4 positions in the standings. He qualified fairly well, but so early that he got bumped back to the 26th position. I agree with him about the engine, he didn’t seem to have the speed that some of the other HMS engines did. Things are getting better for him and that makes this long timer feel good!

  29. REGAN on
  30. Jr is back and will win very soon!

  31. bonnie mccoy on
  32. you are the man jr keep it up we are all behind you go jr go jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr you are the coolest that was really good when you went and talked to the floating marshmellow bet he was lost for words keep going jr god bless

  33. Deb on
  34. second is right behind first and I see first in the near future for JR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. AZomah on
  36. Have fun, I have to wait til Nov.

  37. AZomah on
  38. Actually his engine was not up to it!

  39. Debbie on
  40. Jr you are & ALWAYS will be the man, you”re the best of the best. You finally have a great crew chief. You have been way up there this year compared to last year. You”re a awesome driver, it”s not your fault you”ve had bad cars that you couldn”t work with… it was the car not the Drivers fault. you can”t win with a car thats not right or a lousy crew chief. People said you were not a good driver, but it wasn”t you it was the car, you need a good car to win & a crew chief to get you there & you have that now. GREAT driver & Great car = WIN This is your year… GO DALE !!!! Behind you ALL the way in Florida. Love you JR !!!!

  41. Willard and Jean West on
  42. Gooooooooo Dale Jr, we were sitting on the edge of our seats, just waiting for you to cross that finish line, but that’s OK, you drove a good race and all your fans know that in the near future, you will be the one to cross that line first and be OUR RACE WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU ARE A AWESOME DRIVER AND YOU FINALLY HAVE A AWESOME CREW CHIEF………….

  43. marcel on
  44. I’m not a JR. fan , he drove a good race and deserved to win, maybe next week. Harvick is a charger, give him a mediocre car and he will push his way to the front.

    I wish he had done to Kevin what Kevin would have done to him, two great drivers, don’t forget whose car Kevin was driving, three great drivers, It was sad,
    I couldn’t help but cry, he came so close, but God willing there will be another race, and I hope it will be the one………

    I was soooooo impressed yesterday by Jr…am a HUGE fan and believe this is his yr. I was sitting on the edge of my seat yesterday…he was there…but maybe next week. He will win this yr and Jr nation will be soooooooo happy!!!

  45. Mike on
  46. Well Mr. Harvick looking back at your 10 years at RCR overall I’d say you’ve been a huge let down. If you had only given RCR half of the attention that you have given your own teams things may be very different for you at RCR. You’re a crybaby Harvick and they name streets after you”ONE WAY”

  47. David Williams on
  48. As a JR. fan You ran a good clean race. the pass you put on the 18 car was good and clean although I wanted to see you win I do have to admit that the 29 care did pretty much the same thing to you. With your new crew chief as well as a great pit crew and a good car a win is just around the corner. I never gave up on you JR. YOU ARE BACK BRO.

  49. Mavis on
  50. So nice too see Jr with a car that he can contend for the win with. I’m sure there’s more to come. Good for Steve to get his car good enough. Now we have to work on qualifying and getting the car good enough that Jr doesn’t have to spend most of the race working his way to the front. He needs to start up there. Great race! He should be good at Texas and Talladega

  51. Addie on
  52. Dale, Jr. is right on track. I have never questioned his driving ability. He is a driver who could really kick butt and yesterday is one of those times. I say Go Jr. Go!

  53. Penny on
  54. Thank you, he is not his dad and not anything like him, so thank you for saying that.

  55. Penny on
  56. Just remember he is not his DAD!

  57. Donna on
  58. Jr. is back for sure ..I like what I am seeing looking very good right now and his crew is spot on and his Crew Chief is my hero right now ..Steve needs a pat on the back and atta boy !!! That win is coming Texas talladega you pick he will win one maybe two naysayers hold your comments til then eh !!! lol..Way to go Jr. very proud of what been taking shape with you and the team and your CC ..keep on rockin ..

  59. dynamite on
  60. I was so proud of jr. when he passed Kyle and got in first place and around the last 5 laps my heart was racing and my blood pressure shot up to the roof. I was hollering so loud, I scared my dog. It was a good race and I was so proud of jr. Did you see the fans in the stands when jr. got in first place? Looked like everyone there were jr. fans.
    When they were interviewing Jr. after the race he sounded like he was about to cry. I felt so sorry for him . Even if he didn’t win, he ran a darn good race, he was so close. I felt like Jr was going to win before the race started , because yesterday was the 3rd. Good things seem to happen on the 3rd.(sr’s racecar #)
    As for the question ‘is Dale jr. back’? in my book, he has never been gone.
    #1 Dale jr fan and always will be. GO JR>GO

  61. lady red on
  62. Leaving soon for my 500 mile trek to Ft. Worth from south TX for Sat’s race. Everything is bigger and better in TX so look for Jr. to go for the win. Texans love Jr. and the stands will be rocking!!

  63. SouthernGuy8503 on
  64. I kind of wish he did move him out of the way, but JR was loose towards the end and he might have spun himself out. If he did when it wouldn’t have mattered to the haters, they would have said the only reason he won was because he was lucky and pushed Harvick out of the way. The doubters are starting to see that he really can still race and that it really was the crew chief that was the main problem. JR’s other problem was feedback but Steve and TJ (spotter) are able to keep him cool so I think that was the reason he wasn’t giving good feedback, he was letting the emotions get to him. But, the real haters will always find some reason to make it sound bad, like yesterday some said stuff like “see he could have won but screwed it up”. JR had a better car than Harvick on the exit but Harvick had a better entrance car towards the end. If JR’s car was as good as Harvick’s then JR would ahve won but at least 2-3 car lengths.

    I doubt JR will be the Champion this year because him and Steve are still working out kinks (JR said he needs to work on qualifying and Steve said he needs to work on making the car better and faster during the race). But, I know JR will be in the chase by points (so top 10). The new Cup front end that will be on the cars in 2012 or 2013 will look more like the Nationwide COT and you see JR has no problem with that car, so I see JR performing even better with the new front end.

  65. jeff on
  66. i dissagree with u elizbeth,,,,,, harvick can win races and not on the last lap and not getting cars lose and lifting cars…….. the way i see it that is raceing and rubbing is raceing…….. GO 88

    But I found it to be deliberate as he’s done it 2 weeks in a row! Not just to Jr. he’s finding that if worked for the last 2 weeks and will try it too often and when he finds the right driver with a score to settle it will happen on the track and alot of innocent drivers will have no recourse but to take it very seriously.

  67. Jan on
  68. I too was very impressed with Martin Truex, Jr. I think that said alot about him

  69. Mary Lockhart on
  70. You did a great job Sunday Jr.
    Your win is coming, keep your
    chin up, we are routing for you.

  71. goldie on
  72. Did all you good people hear that crowd shouting when Jr. passed Busch? It seemed they just let out a big roar and that alone reminded me what being a fan of anyone is all about. I don’t believe we have heard that same roar maybe since the last race Jr. won!!! I am so proud of him. We all knew he was coming around and racing like he used to. It’s just a matter of time and we all have plenty of that, so we will stay committed and let Jr. know we have been his fans since he first started racing and we will continue to be as long as he races. Just one thing, Jr., don’t be afraid of being the bad guy when you need to bump and run because that is what makes racing what it is. All the folks who have never been to a NASCAR race needs to only to attend one time and they will be hooked, believe me.Jr.Nation is alive and well!!!!!

  73. June Patton on
  74. You said it Debbie, can’t win a race without a good car. Was at the race, I think everyone there were out of their seats cheering. Love the guy! A win is in sight. Go Jr.

  75. lady red on
  76. Kevin still has a long way to go…he was supposed to win last year too but it is a long season and he isn’t the only good racer out there. He’s having some good luck right now.

  77. Bev. Estabrooks on
  78. Apparently you must not have watched Nascar when Dale senior eas alive . He INVENTED the bump and run ..D,ONT try to convince us you were not happy when Kevin did it to Jimmy .

  79. Bev. on
  80. Apparently you must not have watched Nascar when Dale senior was alive . He INVENTED the bump and run ..D,ONT try to convince us you were not happy when Kevin did it to Jimmy .

    I know that racing is racing in a new era and the old rules are no longer in effect. This is a whole new ballgame and NASCAR is looking fo a safer form of racing.
    I cried for weeks when we lost Dale Sr. and now proud to say I am a first grade fan of Jr’s. I do believe that we are seeing a race between HMS and CRS and not the drivers. That was my intent when I commented earlier.

  81. SouthernGuy8503 on
  82. JR’s car was loose before Harvick got to him, that’s how Harvick caught up to him. JR was good coming out of the corner but he was loose getting into the corner. That’s how Harvick caught up and how he beat Kyle off turn 4 to the line. Harvick simply had a better car. Also there’s not much clean racing at Martinsville, I bet you didn’t mind that type of “dirty racing” when JR passed Gordon and Kyle with the bump and run. Ya I was disappointed that he didn’t win but I was also happy he got 2nd because know he’s showing he can be in the mix contending for wins again. Steve Latarte actually said he should have given JR a better car, JR was just too hard on himself because he did do all that he could with the car he had. JR’s car was good at the start of the last restart but then it got loose a couple laps (give or take) after he took the lead.

  83. AZ omah on
  84. Actually I think he had a good day. Now I am looking forward to TX. He likes that track and always does well there. Onward and upward for Jr.

  85. lady red on
  86. Now that Jr. is doing so much better everyone (media) is talking about him, predicting he’ll win in the next couple of races…..I’ll be there Saturday and if I could I’d get out and push him across the finish line. TX is good for Jr. & the track is fun and the crowd wild….can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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