BUSCH Napa Auto Parts 200Final
Harvick wins wreck-filled Montreal Busch raceAug 5, 2007 - 12:20 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Kevin Harvick went from worst to first in a wild afternoon north of the border.
Harvick held off a late charge from local favorite Patrick Carpentier to win Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villenueve.
It was the fourth victory this season and 30th career for Harvick, a Nextel Cup Series regular who was replaced by Brandon Miller in the early afternoon qualifying session.
Since Harvick was not present for the qualifying, he was shifted to the back of the starting field for the inaugural running of this road-course event. But he methodically made his way to the front and benefitted from a controversial wreck involving Marcos Ambrose and Robby Gordon down the stretch.
"I really didn't think (a win) would be possible," said Harvick, whose Chevrolet Monte Carlo led the final two laps of the 74-lap race. "I thought track position was going to be very important - and it was - but a fast car was more important."
Harvick's car certainly was fast enough on the last lap, as the reigning series champion clocked 92.978 miles per hour over the final 14 turns.
But Harvick's remarkable comeback was overshadowed by a nasty turn of events involving Ambrose and Gordon, who actually crossed the finish line ahead of Harvick but was relegated to 18th after being black-flagged by race officials.
"I saw (Gordon) parked back on the backstretch," Harvick said. "I think about 10 cars passed him. I don't know what happened."
What Harvick missed was a rough back-and-forth between Ambrose and Gordon that initially began after a restart on lap 70.
Ambrose owned the lead at that point, but Gordon ran his Ford Fusion through the grass to move in front. However, Gordon lost momentum while making the pass, and Ambrose spun out the leader's Ford to prompt the race's fifth and final caution.
Gordon was under the belief he was running first when the yellow flag waved, since another seven-car wreck had taken place in the middle of the pack behind the two leaders. But NASCAR ruled that Gordon was 13th, a ruling the veteran driver chose to ignore.
Instead of dropping back during the caution, Gordon stayed right behind Ambrose, defying the black flags waved at him by race officials. When the race restarted on lap 73, Gordon immediately spun out Ambrose to take the lead.
Gordon crossed the finish line well ahead of Harvick and did a celebratory burnout along the front stretch. Although NASCAR did not acknowledge him, Gordon insisted he was the real winner.
"In my opinion, I won the race," Gordon said. "I completed all the laps. We've seen this happen before - guys get spun when they slow down. That's exactly what happened with Marcos. He spun me when I slowed down, and (NASCAR) told me I'm going to go back to 17th.
"That's not the way it is. It's happened many times, they've set precedents before. We'll appeal this - we won this race."
Ambrose, who was just a few laps away from his first career victory, was much calmer following the controversy.
"I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed," said Ambrose, who finished seventh in a Ford.
Once Ambrose and Gordon were out of the way, the race came down to a battle between Harvick and Carpentier, the pole-sitter and a native of nearby Ville Lasalle - located just nine miles from here.
Carpentier made repeated attempts to move his Dodge Charger alongside Harvick's Chevy, but the Nextel Cup star demonstrated his mettle and stock-car experience with several well-timed blocks during the final two laps.
"We were here for one reason, and that was to win," said Harvick, who averaged 64.671 mph. "That's why we came up here - to put on a show. The show ended good."
Carpentier finished second in his series debut, followed by the Chevrolets of Max Papis and road-course specialist Ron Fellows, a Toronto native.
Stephen Leicht rounded out the top five in a Ford, while series points leader Carl Edwards finished 30th in a Ford.
- Montreal 200 Preview Aug 4