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Kevin Harvick dominates final stage at Atlanta for second win of the season

The 2020 Cup Series season has been the Kevin Harvick show.

Harvick won his second race of the season and extended his points lead with a dominating final stage on Sunday at Atlanta. Harvick took the lead shortly after the final stage began and only relinquished it for green-flag pit stops as he led 105 of the race’s final 108 laps for his third win at Atlanta and his second in the last three races.

In addition to being the best driver throughout 2020, Harvick has been the best driver at Atlanta in recent years. Harvick has led more than 100 laps in seven of the last nine races at the track.

Atlanta was the site of Harvick’s first win in the Cup Series. It came in the spring of 2001, weeks after Harvick had replaced Dale Earnhardt at Richard Childress Racing after Earnhardt was killed in the Daytona 500. Like he did in 2001, Harvick drove a backward victory lap around the track on Sunday with three fingers extended and his arm out the window in honor of Earnhardt.

Kyle Busch finished second, while Martin Truex Jr. was third. Truex won the race’s first two stages. Ryan Blaney was fourth and Denny Hamlin finished fifth.

Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Harvick’s 2020 so far

Yeah, Chase Elliott and Busch have grabbed most of the storylines. But Harvick has been the season’s best driver. You want to know how good Harvick has been in 2020? 

Last week’s race at Bristol — where he finished 11th — was the only race where he’s finished outside the top 10. Harvick’s average finish in 2020 is 5.5, and he’s won two of 10 races with six top-five finishes. 

That Bristol race was also the first race for Harvick since Talladega in October 2019 that he’s finished outside the top 10. And if you want to go back to Harvick’s 39th-place finish at Bristol in August, he’s finished in the top 10 in 20 of 22 races.

Harvick’s points lead

Harvick is coming close to having a full race worth of points on everyone else in the Cup Series.

Harvick leads second-place Joey Logano by 48 points. A full race for a race winner who wins the first two stages is 60 points. Only Logano and third-place Elliott are within 60 points of Harvick.

For reference, 10th-place Kurt Busch is ahead of 16th-place Erik Jones by 44 points in the standings. And spots Nos. 2-9 are separated by just 65 points. Harvick also has more than twice the points of 18th-place Tyler Reddick.

Here’s how the top 20 of the standings look through 10 races.

1. Kevin Harvick, 421 points

2. Joey Logano, 373

3. Chase Elliott, 365

4. Brad Keselowski, 346

5. Martin Truex Jr., 334

6. Denny Hamlin, 322

7. Ryan Blaney, 317

8. Alex Bowman, 314

9. Kyle Busch, 308

10. Kurt Busch, 284

11. Aric Almirola, 260

12. Clint Bowyer, 259

13. Jimmie Johnson, 256

14. Austin Dillon, 247

15. Matt DiBenedetto, 246

16. Erik Jones, 240

17. William Byron, 220

18. Tyler Reddick, 207

19. Chris Buescher, 194

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 185

Midweek Martinsville

Get ready for another midweek NASCAR race. The Cup Series races on Wednesday at Martinsville. The 500-lap event starts after 7 p.m. ET and is on Fox Sports 1. It’ll be the first night race at Martinsville, though recent fall races at the track have ended as the track’s newly-installed lights have been illuminated.

Full results

1. Kevin Harvick

2. Kyle Busch

3. Martin Truex Jr. 

4. Ryan Blaney

5. Denny Hamlin

6. Kurt Busch

7. Jimmie Johnson

8. Chase Elliott

9. Brad Keselowski

10. Joey Logano

11. Austin Dillon

12. Alex Bowman

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 

14. Ryan Newman

15. Matt Kenseth

16. Tyler Reddick

17. Aric Almirola

18. Christopher Bell

19. Cole Custer

20. Clint Bowyer

21. Bubba Wallace

22. Chris Buescher

23. John Hunter Nemechek

24. Michael McDowell

25. Matt DiBenedetto

26. Ryan Preece

27. Corey LaJoie

28. Erik Jones

29. Ty Dillon

30. Brennan Poole

31. Daniel Suarez

32. Quin Houff

33. William Byron

34. Josh Bilicki

35. Garrett Smithley

36. JJ Yeley

37. Reed Sorenson

38. Joey Gase

39. Timmy Hill

40. BJ McLeod

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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