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UPS Game-Changing Moments: Darlington

April 07, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Moments that changed the course of the eighth race of the season

HARVICK DOMINATES AT DARLINGTON
The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has been one of feast or famine for Kevin Harvick -- and on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway, Harvick enjoyed the delectable taste of victory.
 
Passing Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the next-to-last lap of the second attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish, Harvick won Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 and all but locked himself into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the first two-time winner in the series this year (he still needs to finish in the top 30 and attempt to qualify for every race).
 
The victory was Harvick’s first at Darlington and the 25th of his career. It was the third win of the season for Stewart-Haas Racing.
 
Harvick led 239 of 374 laps in a race that went seven laps past its scheduled distance.

"The restart at the end, I was talking to the guys on the radio and they said the outside was kind of the place to be," Johnson said. "I hadn’t seen the front all night long and I was talking to Junior as I got out of the car and he said that was a bad move."

UPS


JOHNSON LOSES AFTER CHOOSING HIGH LINE ON RESTART

On the next-to-last restart, Jimmie Johnson took the lead on pit road with a two-tire stop and chose the outside lane. He was quickly passed on his way to a third-place finish. After talking with teammate Earnhardt Jr., he later regretted the move.

"The restart at the end, I was talking to the guys on the radio and they said the outside was kind of the place to be," Johnson said. "I hadn’t seen the front all night long and I was talking to Junior as I got out of the car and he said that was a bad move."

The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion sits fifth in points and is still seeking his first win of the season.

HARD NIGHT FOR MENARD ENDS EARLY

Paul Menard brought out the fifth caution of the night at Lap 202 after hitting the Turn 1 wall hard following a tire failure.

"I hit the wall like 10 laps before and I guess the right-front tire just went down," Menard said. "Kind of rode the wall in (Turns) 3 and 4 and I guess I was just in denial, I guess I didn’t realize the right-front tire was down.

"It felt fine going down the front stretch and let go it killed Turn 1. A lot of damage, the guys are going to try to fix it."

The No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team was able to fix his Chevrolet SS and get it out on track but another hit ended his night in 41st place, 104 laps down.