KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Thirty-one points, and five races left to earn them.

Yeah, Kevin Harvick can probably manage that.

Not much more than a few formalities stand between Harvick and his second Busch Series championship, after he held off Matt Kenseth in a green-white-checkered shootout on Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

Harvick’s victory in a caution-filled Yellow Transportation 300 also made him the first Busch driver to win seven races in a season since Dale Earnhardt Jr. did it en route to the 1998 title. Harvick had five victories when he won the title in 2001.

“I felt like we were a little off on our mile-and-a-half program,” Harvick said. “So they built a brand new car, tuned up two engines, and I felt like we were pretty good right off the truck.”

Harvick’s win, the sixth straight victory in Busch and Nextel Cup competition for Richard Childress Racing, was the 24th of his Busch career and gave him a 729-point lead over Carl Edwards in the standings.

“Kevin has been killing the Busch Series and is a contender to win every week,” said Kenseth, who won the pole earlier Saturday and led 145 of 200 laps but couldn’t overcome a slow late pit stop on the 1.5-mile tri-oval.

“The Childress Busch cars have been the class of the field all year. Guys coming and doing one-off races, partial schedules or full-time schedules – I don’t think anybody can run with the Childress cars this year on a consistent basis.”

Harvick likely won’t clinch in a Childress car, though. He’s scheduled to drive his own No. 33 car.

, which Tony Stewart drove to a fourth-place finish on Saturday, on Oct. 13th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

“We’re still sticking to our plans from the beginning of the year,” Harvick said.

Childress, who joined Harvick in the winner’s circle, seemed content to enjoy the six-race streak.

“It’s just great to see these faces on everybody,” Childress said. “It’s great to see their hard work paying off.”

Harvick could pull off an unprecedented double with a strong finish in NASCAR’s top circuit. is fifth in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings – 54 points behind leader Jeff Burton – going into Sunday’s Banquet 400.

“We don’t like to worry about things too far in advance,” he said. “It would be an incredible accomplishment if we could pull it off.”

Harvick started seventh on Saturday but quickly moved up through the pack. He couldn’t get past Kenseth until a pit stop with 35 laps to go, when Kyle Busch took the lead and Harvick moved into second. He took the lead in the 185th lap and never relinquished it, even with a flurry of late restarts.

The race matched a track record with 10 cautions. There were four in the last 28 laps – two in the final eight.

The first of those came out in the 192nd lap, after Kasey Kahne got wide and hit the wall in turn four.

The field restarted with six laps to go, but Jon Wood and Danny O’Quinn Jr. crashed in the back stretch and put the race on hold until the final three-lap shootout.

“I tried to mix up my restarts,” Harvick said. “(Kenseth) got a good jump on the last restart but I was able to stay out front and keep the clean air.”

Busch was third, followed by Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte and Paul Menard.

This was the first time in the track’s six-year history for Busch drivers to qualify and race on the same day.

AP-ES-09-30-06 1950EDT


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