Published On: Mon, May 18th, 2020

Harvick wins closed-door race in NASCAR return

Kevin Harvick shook off the rust of a two-month break in the NASCAR schedule by winning the closed-door Real Heroes 400 on Sunday at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.

Kevin Harvick celebrates in victory

Californian Harvick seized the lead at the midway point and led for more than 150 laps to claim NASCAR’s first live competition since March 8, when the series was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Harvick earned his 50th career victory in a race contested without fans and with a number of new health safety precautions.

Sporting a black protective face mask as he celebrated on top of his car, Harvick said it felt odd to win without fans.

“I didn’t think this was going to be much different, and then we won and it’s dead silent out here. So we miss the fans,” he said.

Drivers had to do a lot of guessing in the early stages of the 293-lap race because there was no practice or qualifying ahead of time.

Alex Bowman was the runner-up. Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.

Sixth place went to Martin Truex, followed by Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, John Hunter Nemechek and Matt Kenseth.

Ryan Newman finished 15th. He was competing for the first time since suffering a head injury in a flying wreck in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.