NASCAR Sports Update: Harvick tames the Monster, Playoff battle tightens up (8/23/20) By: Josh Scott
Kevin Harvick beat Martin Truex Jr by 3.5 seconds to win the Drydene 311, the second race at Dover International Speedway, on Sunday. "The Closer" picks up his seventh win of the 2020 season, 56th overall tying Kyle Busch for ninth on NASCAR's all-time wins list. Harvick's victory is also the 700th overall for FORD drivers in NASCAR. Truex Jr's second-place finish extends a career-high streak of eight straight races placing inside the top three.
Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag third in his final start at Dover, William Byron fourth, Alex Bowman fifth. Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, and rookie Cole Custer finished out the top 10. Denny Hamlin, who won Saturday's race, finished 19th after having to pit for a loose wheel late in the race.
Harvick dominated much of the race, leading 223 laps and winning both Stage One and Two. The current points leader had a five-second lead over Truex before rookie Quin Houff's number 00 spun, bringing out the race's final yellow flag with 25 laps to go. Johnson took the lead after choosing to change two tires on pit road while everyone else chose to change four tires. On the ensuing restart, however, Harvick snatched the lead away from the seven-time champ and drove away with the win.
Johnson and William Byron, along with Matt DiBenedetto, continue an intense battle for the 16th and final spot to qualify for NASCAR's Playoffs. DiBenedetto currently has a nine-point cushion over the cutoff line. Byron is four points above and Johnson, four points below.
NASCAR's regular-season finale ends where it began: Daytona International Speedway. One last chance remains for any driver who has yet to win a race, inside the top 30 in points, to make the playoffs and contend for a championship. Catch the Coke Zero Sugar 400 this Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC.