MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Kevin Harvick overcame an ill-handling car to charge to the front, pass Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the lead and hold on to win at Martinsville Speedway.
Earnhardt had taken over the lead with 20 laps to go in Sunday's race with a pass of Kyle Busch that brought everyone in the grandstands to their feet.
But Harvick was closing quickly, and pulled onto Earnhardt's bumper with four laps to go. He made his pass in the second turn, Earnhardt tried to get the lead back, but conceded as they rounded the fourth turn.
Harvick sailed away for his second consecutive victory, and Earnhardt had to fight hard to hold off Busch for second. Busch ended up 3rd, good enough to give him NASCAR's points lead. Cambridge, WI native Matt Kenseth took 6th-place. Eau Claire's Paul Menard wound up 38th, ending a streak of 5 straight races to start the season in which he had his career-best finish at each track.
Harvick's victory snapped the dominating run of Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson, who had combined to win the last nine races at Martinsville.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)