They call Kevin Harvick "Mr. 'Where Did He Come From?!'" for a reason.
The Richard Childress Racing driver took the lead from Jimmie Johnson in the final corner to win the Auto Club 400. It is his first win of the 2011 season, his first since last August at Michigan, and his first in his home state of California. In addition, it is the first ever win for Richard Childress Racing at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.
It was a role-reversal, as Johnson held off Harvick last year to win last February's event. This time around, Harvick kept his Chevrolet out of the wall and made the outside pass in turn four to steal the win.
Johnson had passed a dominant Kyle Busch with three laps to go, but their battle allowed Harvick to move into position to snag the victory. Busch was third at the finish, followed by Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman. Pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya came home 10th.
Harvick has made it his trademark to win exciting late-race battles. His very first win came at Atlanta in 2001, in his third career Sprint Cup start, by just .006 seconds over Jeff Gordon. He passed Kyle Busch with two laps to go at Richmond in 2006. In one of the best finishes in Daytona 500 history, he edged out Mark Martin to win the 2007 edition of the Great American Race. Last year, he got his first win since that Daytona 500 triumph by passing Jamie McMurray exiting the tri-oval to win at Talladega.