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CUP: Harvick Shines On Strange Weekend

Bright spots and tight spots from a wacky weekend at Richmond International Raceway:

Shining:

KEVIN HARVICK – The Richmond finish was set up perfectly for “the Closer.” He made a bold move to the inside in the first turn of the green-white-checkered and took a lead that was never challenged. Seasonal first win could be the salve this team needs.

CLINT BOWYER – Bowyer took some time off from his role as unofficial circuit comedian to finish second at Richmond, boosting his point profile considerably (eighth to fifth).

ARIC ALMIROLA – Started 34th at Richmond but climbed the ladder throughout the race, eventually finishing eighth in the chaos of the final lap. Has three straight top-10 runs and sits 11th in points.

JOEY LOGANO – Threaded through the heavy traffic of the Richmond green-white-checkered to take third and gained three places in points as he tries to negate NASCAR penalty.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA – Almost, but no win. Erase the night’s final caution, and Montoya would have had the long-sought breakthrough oval-track victory. Still, a very good night for the former Formula One winner and his team.

Whining:

BRAD KESELOWSKI – His toughest race of the year ended with a 33rd-place finish and a battered race car. Could changing the familiar Blue Deuce to red make that much difference?

BRIAN VICKERS – Vickers has done well in a substitute role for the injured Denny Hamlin, but his night at Hamlin’s home track went miserably. He was involved in several cautions, caused the final one that sent the race into overtime and wound up 35th.

DANICA PATRICK – Another down week in a strange year. Finishes four laps off the pace.

BRIAN SCOTT – No further explanation necessary.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.