Relive Kevin Harvick’s win at The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway

NASCAR made its triumphant return on Sunday — and so did Kevin Harvick.

The No. 4 Ford Mustang driver led 159 laps for his second career Darlington win after NASCAR’s two-month racing hiatus. He’s the only driver to finish in the top 10 of every race this season, and after the race was over Sunday, Harvick celebrated appropriately:

“Time to have some donuts. You’ve got to do a donut – you’ve got a celebrate a victory. That’s gotta feel great.”

We checked in with Harvick post-race, and while he was excited to celebrate his 50th career win, making him the 14th driver in NASCAR history to do so, he took a moment to honor healthcare workers on the frontlines during this pandemic.

“This Dr. Josh Hughes is one of my really good friends. I’ve spent a lot of time with him, I’ve seen how this whole pandemic has affected our frontline workers in person on a weekly basis. Thank you Josh, we’re thinking about you.”

It was a tight one until the end, with Harvick and No. 88 Chevy driver Alex Bowman battling into the final minutes.

Drivers certainly had to shake off a little bit of rust on Sunday, with the race featuring 10 lead changes and nine caution flags, as the track that’s “too tough to tame” lived up to its name.

The trouble started early, with the yellow flag flying after the first lap when No. 47 Chevy driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun out and hit the safety barrier. The damage was terminal, and Stenhouse was unable return to the track.

Stenhouse was very disappointed in his short run today, but is looking forward to a new day of racing on Wednesday.

“My crew guys, I feel awful for them – they put a lot of hard work into getting our cars ready, and coming all the way down here down to Darlington.”

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson took the lead in the last laps of stage one, but it wasn’t for long, as he got turned around and crashed into the wall on the final lap – what a heartbreaking way to go from first, to last.

“Oh Jimmie Johnson! Unbelievable, our leader. Shaking his head, boy, you know he’s frustrated with that. Had such a great car, a great race going on.”

We heard from Jimmie following the crash that ended his day at Darlington.

“Coming into the end of stage, and just trying to make sure I got a good run off of turn two … things just went horribly wrong there. Just unfortunate things didn’t turn out off of turn two.”

The trouble continued for Hendrick Chevrolet, as William Byron wiggled and made contact with the outside wall, causing the yellow flag to fly.

“Those Hendrick Chevrolet’s looked unbelievable at the start of this race, and now nothing is going right for them.”

Byron was, of course, not pleased with his finish, but is ready to regroup and return with a vengeance on Wednesday.

Cautions were the name of the game today, and the next driver to bring out the yellow flag was No. 6 Ford Mustang driver Ryan Newman.

The first race back since Mar. 8 also marked veteran driver Ryan Newman’s return to racing, who was hospitalized after a terrifying crash during the Daytona 500.

“He got really loose – I don’t know, I don’t think he was trying to get to pit road. It’s possible. But I think he just got really loose in turns three and four … that almost looked like a tire issue.”

While a few drivers didn’t bring out the caution flag, they still dealt with trouble on the track, including Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer.

No. 53 Chevy Camaro driver Garrett Smithley had his own share of problems today too.

But even with the difficulties, a few drivers were able to navigate and find success. Two-time champion of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Tyler Reddick felt like he hasn’t taken any time off, and his momentum is strong.

“First day was a little rough around the edges at times, but man starting 29th but getting up to, I think the top 5, in the first 120-so laps – just an outstanding start to our day.”

It was a great day all around, and fans loved the action as much as the drivers did.

Following today’s race, we have one question:

We’ll see you Wednesday!