RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Kevin Harvick may be stamping himself as the man to beat in NASCAR.
The 2014 series champion took the lead from Joey Logano with 66 laps to go and held off Christopher Bell at Richmond Raceway on Sunday for his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Harvick, who ended a 65-race drought last week at Michigan, won for the 60th time, the fourth time at Richmond and first time on the 0.75-mile oval since 2013. He matched Kyle Busch for ninth in career victories in the premier series and credited an increased understanding of the Next Gen car for his progress.
“We’re just going to keep doing the things that we’re doing,” Harvick said. “I think we just have to keep an open mind about things and keep progressing and keep understanding the car, understanding what we could have done better today, understanding what we could have done better in qualifying yesterday and do the same thing over and over,” he said after climbing from his car.
He even took some blame for allowing Bell to come so close at the end.
“I knew he was coming, but I forgot to shift down the front straightaway the last time,” he said. “I was not paying attention and he got closer than he should have. I made a mistake there a couple laps doing the same thing.”
Harvick’s victory also kept alive the intriguing battle for the final playoff position with two races remaining in the regular season. The 15 winners this year have all likely claimed playoff berths unless there are new winners when the series moves to Watkins Glen and then Daytona.
Bell finished second, followed by Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. Joey Logano, who led for 222 of the 400 laps, faded to sixth, followed by Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney was 10th. Blaney and Truex are the top two drivers in points hoping to make the 16-driver playoffs without a victory.
Thanks to stage points, Blaney increased his lead from 19 points to 26 over Truex for the final playoff spot, assuming there is not a 16th different winner.
The race featured just five cautions for 28 laps, and that includes the two that come at the end of each stage. The last one came when Bell spun on the 252nd lap, and Harvick pulled away after a pair of green-flag pit cycles.
The final pit stops under green came with just more than 50 laps to go.
“I got held up pretty bad at the beginning of the run by a couple slower cars and that was ultimately the difference when you get beat by a couple car lengths,” Bell said. He locked up a playoff spot with a win at Loudon on July 17.
Before Bell, Buescher was on Harvick’s bumper, but never got around him.
“I think it’s a little easy with this format to feel like third place doesn’t matter, but it’s nice to be close and to keep progressing and getting better,” he said. “Just burned the rear tires up. Ultimately that’s on me. Lap traffic didn’t do us any favors, either, but ultimately just got to keep the rears under us a little bit better so we can have a little bit better shot there to get after him for the win.”
Ross Chastain has ruffled many feathers this year with his aggressive style and Sunday was no different as he got together with Kyle Busch on lap 241.
Busch rallied to finish ninth, but said: “We got ‘Chastained’ this week.”
Chastain, who took the lead at the start of the race and led the entire 70-lap first stage, never got back to the front again and finished 18th, two laps down.
ODDS AND ENDS
Ty Gibbs again replaced Kurt Busch, who missed his fourth consecutive race while recovering from a concussion. After getting his first top-10 finish a week ago, Gibbs finished just 180 laps before his engine blew. … Bubba Wallace, like Gibbs driving for 23XI Racing owned by Michael Jordan and Hamlin, had his string of top 10 finishes stop at four. He wound up 13th. … Kyle Busch’s string of eight consecutive finishes outside the top 10 ended with a ninth-place run.
The series moves to the road course at Watkins Glen, New York.
California Gets More Rain and Snow, but Dry Days Are Ahead
LOS ANGELES (AP) — More rain and snow fell during the weekend in storm-battered California, making travel dangerous and prompting evacuation warnings over flooding concerns along a swollen river near Sacramento.
Bands of gusty thunderstorms started Saturday in the north and spread south, with yet another atmospheric river storm following close behind Sunday, the National Weather Service said.
Up to two inches (5 cm) of rain was predicted for the saturated Sacramento Valley, where residents of semi-rural Wilton and surrounding communities were warned to prepare to leave if the Cosumnes River continued to rise. The warning was downgraded from an evacuation order Sunday afternoon.
Gusts and up to 3 feet (91 cm) of snow were expected in the Sierra Nevada, where the weather service warned of hazardous driving conditions. Interstate 80, a key highway from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe ski resorts, reopened after being closed most of Saturday because of slick roads and snow.
The University of California Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab tweeted Sunday morning that it received 21.5 inches (54 centimeters) of snow in 24 hours. Its snowpack of about 10 feet (3 meters) was expected to grow several more feet by Monday.
A backcountry avalanche warning was issued for the central Sierra, including the greater Lake Tahoe area, through Monday.
The California Highway Patrol rescued three people whose car slid off a rain-slicked road and ended up teetering at the edge of a cliff in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Friday. The occupants of the car “were scared for their lives and were in disbelief” when they were pulled safely from the car as the vehicle’s front end hung precariously over the cliff’s edge, the highway patrol said in a statement.
“We cannot stress this enough. Please ONLY drive if it’s necessary,” the statement said.
Just to the south in Santa Cruz County, the tiny community of Felton Grove along the San Lorenzo River was under an evacuation warning.
The swollen Salinas River swamped farmland in Monterey County. To the east, flood warnings were in effect for Merced County in the agricultural Central Valley, where Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Saturday to take stock of problems and warn of still more possible danger.
“We’re not done,” Newsom said. He urged people to be vigilant about safety for a few more days, when the last of a parade of nine atmospheric rivers was expected to move through.
Several roads, including State Route 99, were closed because of flooding Sunday in San Joaquin County.
In Southern California, winter storm warnings and advisories were in place for mountain areas, where many roads remained impassable because of mud and rock slides. Two northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Castaic in northern Los Angeles County were closed indefinitely after a hillside collapsed.
Downtown Los Angeles set a rainfall record Saturday with 1.82 inches (4.6 cm), the weather service said.
The series of storms has dumped rain and snow on California since late December, cutting power to thousands, swamping roads, unleashing debris flows, and triggering landslides.
President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in the state and ordered federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts in affected areas.
At least 19 storm-related deaths have occurred, and a 5-year-old boy remained missing after being swept out of his mother’s car by floodwaters in San Luis Obispo County.
Dry days are in this week’s forecast for California starting on Tuesday.
Original Source: wsvn.com
After Dallas Zoo Leopard Escape, Cut Found in Monkey Habitat
DALLAS (AP) — Police investigating after a clouded leopard escaped her enclosure at the Dallas Zoo say a cutting tool was used to intentionally make an opening in the fence of the small cat’s habitat, and a similar cut was found at a habitat for small monkeys.
Dallas police said Saturday evening that they did not know if the two incidents were related. None of the langur monkeys escaped and none appeared to be harmed.
On Friday, arriving zoo workers discovered that a clouded leopard named Nova was missing from her habitat. A daylong search ensued, during which the zoo was closed while staff and police combed the 100-acre (40-hectare) grounds. She was discovered by late afternoon near her habitat.
After it was determined that Nova wasn’t injured, the zoo said that she spent Saturday with her sister, Luna, in their habitat, “perched up on a high branch while oh-so-many guests stopped by to wish her well.”
Police and zoo officials have said they have reviewed surveillance footage but would not say what it showed or whether there were potential suspects.
Animals have escaped enclosures from the Dallas Zoo before. Most notably was in 2004, when a 340-pound (154-kilogram) gorilla named Jabari jumped over a wall and went on a 40-minute rampage that injured three people before police shot and killed the animal.
Davie Honors MLK’s Legacy With Poetry Readings, Live Performances
A South Florida community came together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Town of Davie hosted its annual celebration at the Pine Island Multipurpose Center’s gymnasium, Sunday afternoon.
The ceremony featured a poetry contest, live performances and refreshments.
Town of Davie Mayor Judy Paul and town councilmembers also spoke at the event.
Sunday would have been King’s 94th birthday.
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