Harvick takes Southern 500 for 1st Darlington victory and 1st 2-time Sprint Cup winner

The Associated Press

The field takes the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Darlington Speedway in Darlington, S.C., Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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By PETE IACOBELLI, AP Sports Writer

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick capped his biggest weekend at Darlington Raceway with his first Southern 500 victory Saturday night, passing Dale Earnhardt Junior two laps from the end of the longest race in the track's 65-year NASCAR history.

Harvick earned his first pole here Friday night and had the most dominant car on the track. But he had to make it through a restart with 10 laps left and two tries at a green-white-checkered finish — NASCAR's version of extra innings.

Earnhardt finished second, his best career showing at a track where his late father won nine times. Jimmie Johnson was third, last year's Southern 500 winner Matt Kenseth fourth and Greg Biffle fifth.

Harvick led 239 of the 374 laps, seven more than planned.

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