Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag in The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway, marking the historic return of NASCAR after the 2020 schedule was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ryan Newman made his return to racing after a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500. Joining him in a return to racing was Matt Kenseth, who retired in 2018.
In order to limit the race to a one-day show, NASCAR opted to race without practice or qualifying before waving the green flag after an 8 week break from competition. Starting position was decided based on the point standings after Phoenix and a random drawing. Brad Keselowski started on the pole and was joined by Alex Bowman on the front row.
Bowman was the favorite throughout the race and lead early before Harvick took the lead in Stage 3. After a caution, Harvick took to the pits and went from fourth to first after getting four fresh tires. He took the lead and never looked back, as Bowman and Kurt Busch trailed behind him.
The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford led a 159 of the 293-lap event at Darlington Raceway. Harvick's victory marks his 50th NASCAR Cup Series win, tying Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett on the all-time wins list.
Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five. Matt Kenseth, who made his return to racing after retiring in 2018, finished 10th in the No. 42 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing. Ryan Newman, who made his return to racing after a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500, finished 15th in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
The NASCAR Cup Series will be back in action on Wednesday, May 20 at Darlington Raceway for the Toyota 500 at 7:30 P.M. on FS1.