The Racing Scene

Monday, September 18, 2006

Kevin Harvick made it look easy to begin the Chase to the Cup.

The 10-race series began Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway, with Harvick cruising to victory in the Sylvania 300 by leading 196 of the 300 laps. Not only did that push Harvick into the top spot of the points standings, it was also the first time that a Richard Childress Racing driver had led since Mike Skinner in March, 1999. Childress, of course, is the group under which the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. -- whom Harvick succeeded -- won most of his seven championships.

If the race wasn't a nail-biter, then The Marshall Democrat-News' "The Racing Scene" contest was. Twenty players picked two of the top three drivers correctly, four choosing Harvick as the winner: Joyce Holland, Patty Laxson, Patti Rudd and Bob Van Dyke.

There was a three-way tie in the attempt to end a 15-race string of jackpot-building. Crystal McGraw and Cody Mikels picked second-place Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon along with Harvick, but didn't put any of the drivers in the right spot. Marshall's Jeff Mikels did, listing Gordon third, and therefore walks away with $300.

Gordon was a slight pre-race favorite to win, 15 votes to 13, over Stewart and Matt Kenseth. The kitty drops down to $20 for Sunday's Dover 400 at The Monster Mile, which Jimmie Johnson won last year.

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