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Harvick leads throughout to dominate Martinsville

(AP Photo/Don Petersen)

By BY HANK KURZ Jr.

AP Sports Writer

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick led all but two laps and won the spring NASCAR Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday for the third time in the past four years.

The former truck team owner yielded the top spot to teammate Ty Dillon for the fourth and fifth laps, but left no doubt which truck was best in leading a series-record 248 laps.

It was his fourth career start from the pole in the series, and he's won all four races.

It also was his first victory in the truck series for team owner Richard Childress. Until this season, Harvick owned his own truck teams, but gave that up in the offseason.

"I said to Richard when he leaned in the window, `Why did I ever start a race team?'" he said. "'Can you imagine how many wins we would have if we'd never done that?'"

This one looked simple, and felt precariously easy, Harvick said.

"Nine times out of 10, when you have trucks like this, or cars, and you have a day like that where you think you're by far the fastest, usually they never work out," he said, "so today was a special day to win the pole, lead the most laps and win the race.

"It's something that you don't do very often. I'm pretty happy for everybody."

Dillon, in his fourth start, was in close communication with Harvick's team all day and ran second almost the entire race, but had to hold off James Buescher on a restart with six laps to go. He did that easily, and followed Harvick to a comfortable second-place finish.

"I think our truck was just as good. That's just Harvick," Dillon said. "He's been in a lot of races here, won a lot of races. Second place in my first start at Martinsville. I'll take it."

Buescher held on for third, followed by Justin Lofton and Timothy Peters.

For Buescher, it was a strange day considering the 0.526-mile venue, where trucks usually finish a race with missing sheet metal and tire-sized donuts on the side. The race was slowed by seven cautions for 49 laps, but there was little drama, especially at the front.

"I've never had such an uneventful Martinsville," he said. "We started in the top 10 and worked our way forward all day. There's just a little dent in the grill."

John King, who won the season-opening race at Daytona, finished ninth in his first Martinsville start and retained the points lead by one over Peters and Lofton.

Harvick's 248 laps led broke the record of 246 set by Mike Skinner, also at Martinsville, on March 31, 2007.

Updated March 31, 2012

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