Kevin Harvick’s Amazing Last Lap Pass

Filed under: Kevin Harvick 

Kevin Harvick Comes Out of Nowhere to Shove Jimmie Johnson Out of the Way for the Win

Kevin Harvick led just one lap in the Auto Club 400 at California’s Auto Club Speedway today. But it was the one lap that mattered. Harvick chased down both Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson in the final laps – making a last lap pass for the lead on Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet just a few hundred yards from the finish line.

“Yeah, we led the right one, that’s for sure,” said a beaming Kevin Harvick of the battle to the final trip across the start finish line.

I have to admit that as I watched Harvick slice into the lead of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson I thought he had taken 4 fresh tires on the final pit stop. I was surprised to learn after the race was over that Harvick had managed to not only catch, but pass the two leaders on old tires. You’re not supposed to be able to chase down Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch like that. Especially not at Auto Club Speedway, a race track the pair has dominated.

Why was Harvick’s No. 29 Chevy so fast on those tires? “Our car was able to get some air pressure built up in the tires and we were able to really fire off there right off the bat up top,” explained Harvick.

The key to Harvick’s victory – other than a fast car that came to life on old tires – was an aggressive push against the bumper of Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy down the backstretch at 200mph on the final lap.

That push allowed Harvick to build up a full head of steam going into turn three. And it cost Jimmie Johnson a split second of concentration. That was all Harvick needed to make the pass as Johnson’s car broke loose ever so slightly.

“I was after one thing,” said Harvick, “that was to run the very top of the racetrack.  I was hoping that he thought he was going to be going too fast to run the top of the racetrack and get loose.”

“I just wanted to roll in as easy as I could and lay back to the throttle, go into the center of the corner, hopefully be able to leave it down on the exit.  It all played out okay.”

What did you think of Harvick’s strategy and what else do you have to say about the race. Here’s your chance to have your say or talk about your driver. Have at it in the comments below boys and girls.





37 Comments on Kevin Harvick’s Amazing Last Lap Pass

  1. Rose on
  2. so glad Harvick won, so glad Johnson didn’t

  3. Ellen on
  4. When Harvick won after leading less than a lap the whole race, it reminded me of what Dale Earnhardt Sr. once said. Something to the effect that it didn’t matter how many laps you led, but what mattered was that you only needed to lead one lap, the last lap. That was certainly true today. Very impressive of Harvick and also noticed the 3 on the side of his race car. Congrats, Kevin!

  5. AZomah on
  6. Watched NASCAR stuff all week-end, was fed a steady diet of KB, JJ, JG, CE. They are the media favorites, just think of all their sponsors’ commercials I didn’t watch cause I turned off the tv. In other words, I am very happy that Harvick won. I wonder if any of those guys no how to pronounce his name! Jr. had a fairly good day, at least he was able to move up the field. He said on his radio that he was going to have to work on his qualifying. Steve corrected him and told him that we would work on it. It is so early in the season, there is time. Keep the hat on backwards Jr., your keeping things together!

  7. Jack Sams on
  8. Great job of driving Kevin

  9. Badbob on
  10. It was really a great feeling to watch Kevin Harvick actually steal a race away from 5 time. He did it in such a classy way by gentley nudging him out of the top line so that he could you it to pass Johnson. Visions of old school, what a sight to see. Up 15 this week, may he gain 8 more next week.

  11. Debbie Roberts on
  12. I’m thinking Richard Childress must have been having flashbacks today of the days when the number 3 would do the bump and run. I LOVED IT. It was very classy. I also loved the fact that, once again, Jr steadily moved up the field and was able to get into the top 15 by the end of the race. This is SO different from last year, and SO encouraging. I want someone, anyone, to win the championship this year besides JJ. He’s had enough of the limelight. Of course, all of JR NATION wants the 88 to win and I believe that will happen this season, not sure which track, but things are def looking up. Very surprised how few wrecks there were today.

  13. mary on
  14. amen. It was the best I have seen in a while

  15. Scott on
  16. Awesome job Kevin you made my week.
    Now get to the top of the leader board in points and take it all the way to the championship.

  17. June Patton on
  18. So glad someone, anyone, but KB/ I almost turned the race off, then things started to mix up, I actually rooted for JJ, when Jr. can’t get up there, I’ll root for a chevy anyday. So happy for Junior, he’s showing he can still drive if he has the right car. Go Jr.

    Junior is giving his crew chief good information and Steve is making the car better. A big change from the past.

    Kevin just simply applied a little too much pressure at the right time. Very subtle but effective.

    Sometimes we forget there are 43 drivers. I am as guilty as anyone. Working on it.

    One lap is all it takes. Glad to see that Richard still keeps the No. 3 on the car after all this time.

    It was the best race I have seen at that track. And a nice crowd on hand too. Nice changes.

  19. Thelma on
  20. So glad to see Kevin win. It is time someone besides Kyle Bush wins. i think his car is fixec.

    I LOVED IT !!!!!!!! I would have’d loved to seen the look on Kyle’s face when he was concentrating on JJ and ready to pass for the win. I bet he never gave Kevin a thought, but his bubble was burst when the checkerd flag was dropped. I still can’t stop from laughing…….
    Jr. is doing well this season and we all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is Dale Earnhardt Jr.and Steve Letarte quite there yet as the season has just begun and will just keep on getting better.

  21. Barbara on
  22. Great race, and thats RACING Loved it

  23. Barb F. on
  24. We need more of these finishes most exciting race so far this season. Congrats to Harvick for beating Johnson to the finish line.

  25. Joe on
  26. I’m sure Dale Earnhardt was looking down and grinning from ear to ear!

  27. AZomah on
  28. You do a good job of varying from week to week. I am talking about 3 days of racing. They screwed up once though, I got to see Jr.s’ qualifying run. LOL!

  29. Tom on
  30. Anybody but Busch and Johnson. I was looking at Kevin’s car and when he zipped pass Jimmy, I guess Jimmy saw Jimmy John’s and thought it said Jimmy Johnson and was in awe, lol.

  31. Pegi on
  32. You’re right…I was thinking the same thing!

  33. Charles Brack on
  34. I am glad someone won except Bush. I think Nascar should look at Bush’s car it is just so much better than the others. I think Toyota is cheating someway

  35. lady red on
  36. I like Harvick and Childress since he was Sr., best friend as well as boss. Harvick is a true racer with a lot of smarts.
    I’d rather have seen Jr. there but at least it wasn’t Kyle or Jimmie, they are ruining the sport. JJ has no personality & Kyle is a child in a man’s? body. You could tell he was seething underneath when he was being interviewed but he is having to learn some control or be booted. At last some are mentioning Jr. since he is doing better, he appeared to be non-existent for a while, you don’t win, your name doesn’t get mentioned. Too much talk about Kyle, give us a break, he is causing a lot of viewers to turn off. We want to hear about and watch all the racers not just Kyle but guess they will never learn…TG for my remote.

  37. Mavis on
  38. Good for Kevin!

    I hope all Jr fans are remembering to vote for him for the All Star Race (I’m hoping he will win before that) and for the Most Popular Driver.

  39. lady red on
  40. Where do you vote?

  41. Alison on
  42. that was the best race that i have seen in a long time. i was so convinced that jimmie was going to win i almost turned it off, but im glad that i didnt

  43. AZomah on
  44. Ladyred, go to and you will see a thingey on the right hand side to click on and that will take you to the page. I think the thingey is toward the upper side. To early for me to be technical!

  45. goldie on
  46. I totally agree with Lady Red that not only Jr. has not been mentioned in many races, but neither have other drivers that fans would love to hear about. Even the cameraman fails on many occasions to show other drivers during the race and of couse when anything interesting happens on the track, that’s time for a commercial!!!. I know they have to pay bills, but why can’t they show some of the commercials during a few pit stops? It seems like we never get to see the exciting times when they happen. Was truly glad for Jrl He keeps gettintg better with each race. Kevin is another of my picks and I’m glad to see him win. Jr. jjust keep on doing what you and Steve are doing and this may be the year for you. Good luck….

  47. lady red on
  48. Thanks AZ -

  49. john on
  50. Has to cheat to win. Cant do it by racing clean /just like dale.

  51. AZomah on
  52. LadyRed-neatest thing I got at JRM trailor was a Dirty Mo Posse shirt! Don’t know if you liked the name, but I thought it was clever, course I am still a fan of Sinatra’s Rat Pack!

  53. lady red on
  54. Sounds like we are in the same age group and I like anything Jr.

  55. Dolly Kaiser on
  56. Has to cheat to win. Cant do it by racing clean /just like dale??? As tho JJ has never moved anyone over to win. It’s called RACING, and Dale was the master at it. I congratulate Kevin on his driving skills. Watch a few more races, or ask J. Gordon about JJ’s using the bumper. I hope to see Harvick win the cup this year. And no, Harvick is not my favorite driver, but the man is good, and I respect him & Richard Childress. Can’t say the same for JJ or his team owner.

  57. Carole on
  58. Anytime Jimmie and/or Kyle can be shoved out of the way is a GOOD RACING DAY. Way to go “Happy”

  59. AZomah on
  60. Wtsh we could really talk, so fed up with the way our Jr. is protrayed! Completely fed up with HMS!

  61. superpoof on
  62. “Best race”? That was a total snooze fest for all but the last 15 laps! First,they make Bristol a parade,one can only wonder what damage NASCAR is going to do to Martinsville.And it wasn’t too long ago,Helton told them he wanted to see “daylight” between their cars at “dega,And it was a complete bore! Get the hell out of their way,NASCAR,and let them go racing once again!

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