“We had a good day despite the fact that we didn’t get the win today,” said Harvick. “We put on a really good show with the No. 18, and we were evenly matched throughout the race. We were a little tighter than I wanted to be at the end and I just couldn’t get by him. I’m really glad we were able to give JEGS.com a great showing today, even though it wasn’t the result we wanted.”
After qualifying on the outside pole for TheRaceDayRaffleSeries.com 175, Harvick took the green flag and immediately shot into the lead by the completion of lap one, but was passed by polesitter Busch by the time the yellow flag waved for the first time for a spin on lap three. Too early to consider pitting, Harvick remained on the track and restarted in second on lap six.
For the next 40 laps, Harvick and Busch would battle hard, running side-by-side and lap times within hundredths of a second of each other, but it wasn’t until lap 46 that Harvick overtook Busch for the top spot. Only one lap later, Busch reclaimed the lead, and the two would swap positions until the second caution flag waved for debris on lap 63.
Harvick relayed to crew chief Butch Hylton that the truck was turning a little too tightly in the center of the corners, and Hylton called the No. 2 to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. Restarting in second on lap 67, Harvick took the lead once again, but relinquished it by the time a spin on the backstretch brought out the yellow on lap 72. Hylton encouraged Harvick, observing that the No. 2 was faster than the No. 18 in many places on the racetrack, and the team opted to remain on the track when the caution flag waved two more times in quick succession on laps 81 and 86.
When green-flag racing resumed on lap 92, so did the door-to-door drag racing between Harvick and Busch. Harvick briefly took the lead once again, but relinquished it after only one lap. The trucks ran side-by-side until the yellow waved on lap 129, and Hylton called Harvick into the pits for what would be their final stop of the race. With Harvick stating that the truck was still tight in the center and exit of the turns, Hylton opted for four tires, an air-pressure adjustment and fuel. The No. 2 pit crew made a very fast pit stop, allowing Harvick to beat Busch off of pit road and restart the race from the lead on lap 132.
Immediately after the restart, Harvick, Busch and KHI teammate Ron Hornaday went three wide for the lead, but the JEGS.com Chevrolet was still too tight and slipped into the second position. The yellow flag was displayed on lap 160 for a spin, and Harvick took the lead for the final time following the restart on lap 164, but Busch quickly reclaimed the position and the No. 2 lost another spot to the No. 31 of James Buescher one lap later. The caution flag waved for the final time on lap 170, setting up the field for a green-white-checkered finish when racing resumed on lap 173. The three lead trucks were closely matched until the checkered flag flew, but Harvick remained in the third position when he crossed the finish line.
The No. 18 of Busch visited victory lane, with Buescher in second, Matt Crafton in fourth and Austin Dillon rounding out the top five. The No. 2 remains fourth in the Owner’s Point Standings, now 302 points out of first place.
The Truck Series hits the track again on Saturday, September 25th for the Smith’s Food & Drug Stores 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where Ken Schrader will be behind the wheel of the No. 2 truck. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 9:00 p.m. ET.