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NASCAR Sports Update: Harvick steals Darlington win amidst late-race drama (9/6/20) By: Josh Scott

Kevin Harvick held off a hard-charging Austin Dillon by .343 seconds, after taking the lead with 12 laps to go, to win the Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday. The win is Harvick's eighth of 2020 and 57th overall, which puts him ninth on NASCAR's all-time wins list. This win is also Harvick's second Darlington win in 2020. The first win came in May, which was NASCAR's first race in its return from a two-month hiatus.

Joey Logano finished third, Erik Jones fourth, and Daytona winner William Byron fifth. Jones has yet to finish outside the top 10 in six straight races at the "Track Too Tough To Tame". Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top 10.

The 367-lap event was dominated by Martin Truex Jr, who won both Stage One and Two, and Chase Elliott. Both drivers led a combined total of 310 laps. Both drivers were battling hard for the win late in the race. With 15 laps to go, in a desperate attempt to take the lead, Truex drove his number 19 Toyota Camry underneath Elliott in turn one. However, the New Jersey native could not complete the pass. Contact was made and both cars slammed into the wall. Truex chose to pit and would finish 22nd, one lap down. Elliott limped his number 9 Chevrolet Camaro home in 20th.

The race capped off NASCAR's Throwback Weekend, which started in 2015, where drivers show off various paint schemes honoring past NASCAR icons. The weekend's theme celebrated "NASCAR Champions...Past, Present, and Future." Austin Dillon's number 3 honored NASCAR pioneer Junior Johnson, Clint Bowyer's number 14 sported throwback colors to Kyle Petty, and Denny Hamlin's number 11 to Cale Yarborough. All of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers sported paint schemes honoring Jimmie Johnson, in his final season. Johnson also sported throwback colors, honoring fellow seven-time champions Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

The playoff standings after the Cook Out Southern 500 are as follows:

By winning Sunday night's race, Harvick automatically secures himself a spot in the next round of the playoffs, the Round of 12. The next two races provide drivers with two more chances to win their way into the next round. Otherwise, they must have enough points to advance. The four drivers positioned 13th-16th at the end of the Round of 16 will be eliminated from championship contention for the rest of the playoffs.

The Cup Series travels to Richmond Raceway next for the Federated Auto Parts 400, this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Martin Truex Jr is the defending race winner from last season.

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