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Jamie McMurray is halfway leader in Bristol night race

Aug 23, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

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Jamie McMurray is leading at the halfway point of Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski is running second, followed by Jimmie Johnson.

Kasey Kahne was leading at Lap 237 when his car got extremely tight, allowing McMurray to take the lead while Kahne dropped to fourth place at the midpoint.

Kevin Harvick, who had the lead before Kahne, also started having issues with his car, dropping as far back as ninth before moving back up to fourth at halfway.

Jeff Gordon made contact early in the race with Kurt Busch, sustaining significant tire rub. Gordon remained on the racetrack, waiting for a caution to come out, but none occurred in the next few ensuing laps.

On Lap 125, Kyle Busch appeared to get loose, spun and collected Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. While Busch was able to get his car repaired on pit road, Almirola’s car was towed to the garage and Bowyer’s had heavy damage that his team was attempting to repair.

MORE: Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola involved in Bristol crash at quarter mark

Then on Lap 161, Harvick was battling Denny Hamlin for the race lead. Harvick tried to tuck in behind Hamlin, who was leading at the time, but apparently misjudged the distance between the two cars.

Harvick spun Hamlin, who was then hit by Dale Earnhardt Jr., knocking both of the latter two drivers out of the race.

Hamlin threw his HANS device when Harvick circled around the track two laps later, which will likely result in a penalty from NASCAR in the coming days.

MORE: Harvick wrecks Hamlin, Dale Jr. collected

Ironically enough, Harvick emerged from the fray with what he was hoping to do in the first place: he got the lead.

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