NASCAR: Pocono Organics 325 Cup Series

Jun 27, 2020; Long Pond, Pennsylvania, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) celebrates with a crew member on pit road after winning the Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Harvick had won races at all but three current NASCAR Cup Series tracks as of Saturday morning. That number was cut to two on Saturday afternoon.

Harvick took the lead with 17 laps to go when the final green-flag pit-stop sequence cycled through, then held off a pesky Denny Hamlin in the closing laps to the win the Pocono Organics 325 -- the first of two scheduled races on back-to-back days at the 2.5-mile triangular Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

The victory was the first in 39 starts at Pocono for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and comes after he finished second at the "Tricky Triangle" four times.

"It's great to finally to check Pocono off the list," Harvick said.

Harvick started the race from the ninth position and at times, was not able to keep the leaders in sight. But thanks to his crew, he said, he came in the final stage of the race. All the way back.

"We weren't where we needed to be to start the race and lost a bunch of track position but we came back and made some great strategy calls to get in clean air and get out front and make some good laps," he said.

It was his third win of the season, tied with Hamlin for most this season in the Cup Series.

Harvick beat Hamlin by .761 seconds to the checkered flag Saturday, denying the Joe Gibbs Racing driver not only his fourth win of the season but also what would have been his sixth career win at Pocono.

Hamlin said his runner-up finish came despite have a severe vibration in his car.

"It felt like somebody loosen all the (lug) nuts on the car," he said. "It's unfortunate. We got there. We came there from a long way back. Had a strong Camry but with about 15 to 20 to go, the vibration just got really, really bad. Still, it would have been tough to pass (Harvick for the win).

Harvick's teammate Aric Almirola finished third after starting from the pole and leading a race-high 61 of 130 laps.

He said his finish on Saturday boded well for him in Sunday's nightcap of the historic doubleheader at Pocono.

"This is a great opportunity to score a lot of points with the double-header," Almirola said. "You unload and you have a good car in the first race, you have an opportunity to score a lot of points in two days.

"Three top-fives in a row. Really proud of this race team."

Fourth was rookie Christopher Bell of Leavine Family Racing, who picked up his first career top-five finish.

Defending Series champion Kyle Busch of JGR finished fifth.

The two tracks where Harvick has not yet won are Kentucky Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield "Roval," which has hosted just two events since debuting on the schedule in 2018.

Saturday's race was originally scheduled to begin at just before 4 p.m. ET, but a wet track pushed back the green flag by about an hour.

Teams will be required to use the same cars on Sunday that they used on Saturday. The starting order Sunday will be set by inverting the top 20 finishers from Saturday's race and the bottom cars starting in the order they finished Saturday's race. Teams that have to go to backup cars for Sunday will start at the rear of the field.

--Field Level Media

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