The 2018 NASCAR AAA 400 at Dover as it happened

DOVER, DE - MAY 06: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's Ford, takes the green flag to start the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway on May 6, 2018 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick scored his fourth win of the season Sunday, this one coming in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400. Here’s how it all went down Sunday at Dover:

Kyle Larson had won the pole on Friday, however during pre-race inspection Sunday morning, he failed inspection three times as did the car of Alex Bowman. Both cars were sent to the rear and their car chiefs were ejected. The car of Austin Dillon was also sent to the back with a noncompliant splitter.

The green flag time had also been moved up 8 minutes due to threatening weather.

So, it was Kevin Harvick who led the field to the green.  Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chase Elliott followed. Because he had not won the pole Harvick was not given lane choice and started from the outside.

Harvick and Truex were side by side until the exit of Turn 2 on the second lap, when Harvick was finally able to move ahead to take the lead.

Michael McDowell spun in turn 4 on lap 3 after contact with Bubba Wallace and the first caution of the day came out.

Green came out to start lap 8; this time Harvick was able to launch ahead of Truex. Elliott, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski fell in behind.

Kyle Busch reported a vibration and that his engine “sucks”.

Harvick’s lead was 1.2 seconds by lap 15.

Despite his vibration, Kyle Busch took third on lap 20.

Corey LaJoie who had lost an engine Friday lost another engine on lap 21, and caution two came out.

The leaders pitted.  Kyle Busch reported the vibration seemed to be easing. With fuel only, Austin Dillon was first off pit road; Harvick, Keselowski, Truex, and Kyle Busch followed.

Larson, Bowman and Landon Cassill chose not to pit.  They were the top three when green waved to start lap 26; Bowman had the lead by the exit of turn 3, Larson fell into second, Cassill began to rapidly fall.  Keselowski was third with Truex and Harvick close behind. Cassill was 24th two laps later.

Wallace tapped the wall on lap 33, slowed but continued.  The lead for Bowman was under a second.

Keselowski took second on lap 39 after getting Larson loose; Larson fought back and soon the two were side by side for the spot.

Keselowski finally took second on lap 43; Truex followed.   Harvick passed Larson on lap 46.

Keselowski took the lead from Bowman on lap 48. The move put Cassill a lap down.

Harvick get by Bowman a lap later for third.  Kyle Busch was fifth; he was reporting that the vibration was possibly the drivetrain. Busch got by Bowman for fourth on lap 56.

Truex was cutting into the lead, it was under a half a second by lap 61. There were 28 cars on the lead lap.

Austin Dillon was lapped on lap 68.

Ryan Blaney was fifth by lap 70.

Drivers were being told to try and conserve fuel.

Keselowski caught Wallace in 25th on lap 82; Wallace resisted going a lap down and Truex caught up. Wallace went down a lap later.

Denny Hamlin had fifth by lap 88.

There was battle for the lead by lap 89.

Truex pitted on lap 96, he reported a possible right front tire going down.  He came out 27th one lap down.  Harvick inherited second.  Larson had also pitted but it was scheduled, however he was penalized for an uncontrolled tire. He did his pass through and came out three laps down.

Perhaps saving fuel, Keselowski was slowing and Harvick was catching up by lap 103. Kyle Busch in third was also told to save fuel and he too slowed.

Harvick was looking for the lead and took it on the outside on lap 108.

With 10 to go in Stage 1: Harvick, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Kurt Busch, Blaney, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson.  There were 18 cars on the lead lap.

After being fastest in Friday practice, Paul Menard went a lap down then went right to the garage on lap 115.

Suarez took fifth from Elliott on lap 116; Elliott was warned to save fuel.

Hamlin slowed on the backstretch on lap 119; he was trying to coast around for the end of the stage.

Top 10 Stage 1: Harvick, Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Suarez, Kurt Busch, Elliott, Bowyer, Johnson, Hamlin, and Joey Logano.

When the pits opened the leaders pitted.  Hamlin stayed on the lead lap but pitted before they were open and was sent to the back.

Harvick was our first followed by Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Suarez and Kurt Busch.  Kurt Busch’s crew lost a tire that rolled out to pit road; he was penalized and everyone else was able to miss it.  Bowyer moved up into fifth for the green flag which came out to start stage 2 on lap 128. Truex and Bowman elected not to pit and were among those who elected to take the wave around; Truex was back on the lead lap.

Harvick took the lead from the high side on the restart; Keselowski fell in behind. Kyle Busch was third, Suarez fourth. Johnson and Blaney were fighting for fifth. Johnson had the spot a lap later.

The lead for Harvick was 1.7 seconds by lap 139.

Derrick Cope spun and had a hard crash on the inside wall in turn 4 on lap 153 and caution 4 came out.  The leaders pitted. Keselowski was out first followed by Harvick, Kyle Busch, Johnson and Suarez.

Green came out to start lap 158; Keselowski had the lead from the outside by the end of turn 2; Harvick fell into third, Johnson took third, Kyle Busch and Blaney followed.

Blaney took fourth on lap 162.

Keselowski’s lead was less than a half second by lap 177.

Kyle Busch took third on lap 179 just after getting past Blaney.

Keselowski started to get loose and Harvick continued to close.

Kyle Busch reported that his vibration had returned on lap 188.

After a 50 something lap battle Harvick finally took the lead on lap 200.

Truex re-entered the top 10 on lap 204. There were 18 cars on the lead lap by lap 221.

The lead for Harvick was 3.3 seconds by lap 223.

Bowyer took fifth on lap 225 a lap after Blaney had scrubbed the wall.

Top 10 with 10 to go in Stage 2: Harvick, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Johnson, Bowyer, Blaney, Suarez, Truex, Elliott and Logano.

Top 10 Stage 2: Harvick, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Johnson, Bowyer, Suarez, Truex, Blaney, Elliott and Logano.  The fifth caution came out to end the stage.

The leaders pitted; Harvick was out first followed by Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Bowyer and Johnson. Truex came out sixth.

Green came out to start lap 249; Harvick shot to the lead, Keselowski took second, Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Truex followed. Johnson was shuffled back and fall into seventh.

Cody Ware spun and crashed hard in turn 4 on lap 253; caution six came out.

Johnson brought 4 drivers behind him into pit.  The leaders stayed out.

Green came out to start lap 259; Harvick jumped to the lead, Keselowski was close behind. Kyle Busch, Bowyer and Blaney lined up behind.

Kyle Busch slowed on lap 269 reporting that “something broke”. NASCAR threw the caution on lap 272 after leaving it green for two laps; Kyle Busch made it to pit road and onto the garage. His car had a broken driveshaft. It was his fourth DNF in the last five spring races at Dover.

The leaders pitted. Keselowski was out first followed by teammate Logano, both took only two tires.  Harvick, Bowyer and Blaney followed with four.  Larson got the free pass and was back on the lead lap in 16th.

Stenhouse and Jamie McMurray had pitted for fuel only and led the field to green on lap 280. Stenhouse shot to the lead, Logano took second, Bowyer, Truex and Keselowski followed. McMurray fell to sixth blocking Harvick.

Bowyer was looking for second by lap 284. He took the spot a lap later.

Harvick had fifth by lap 286.  Keselowski had fallen to sixth.

Bowyer had caught Stenhouse by lap 293 and was looking for the lead.

Bowyer finally took the top spot on lap 297.

At lap 315 the rain that had threatened all day came and the caution came out.

NASCAR brought the cars to pit road on lap 320 and stopped them.

Engines were restarted, and the yellow displayed after 41 minutes 4 seconds.  The top five: Bowyer, Harvick, Logano, Truex and Keselowski.  There were 17 cars on the lead lap.

When the pits opened, the leaders pitted.  Bowyer was out first followed by Harvick, Logano, Truex and Suarez. With issues on the left rear Keselowski came out ninth.  Logano had to return to the pits for a loose right front wheel.

Green came out to start lap 325; Bowyer took the lead Harvick as second followed by Suarez, Truex and Kurt Busch.

Harvick was stalking Bowyer and looking for the lead by lap 332. Larson entered the top 10.

Bowyer got loose on lap 338 and Harvick took advantage grabbing the lead.

The lead for Harvick was 3.2 seconds by lap 357;43 to go. Suarez, Truex and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.  There were 17 cars on the lead lap.

The lead for Harvick was 2.1 seconds with 20 to go.

With 10 to go the lead was 6.6 seconds and growing.  Behind Harvick, the top four remained Bowyer, Suarez, Truex and Kurt Busch.

There was no drama in the final laps as Harvick cruised to his fourth win of the season and his second win at Dover.

Behind Bowyer, Suarez tied his career best finish on an oval in third, Truex rallied to fourth and Kurt Busch was fifth.

Keselowski was sixth followed by Hamlin, Blaney, Johnson and Larson rounding out the top 10.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway this Saturday nights KC Masterpiece 400 with live coverage on Fox Sports 1 starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.