Kevin Harvick Was Freaky Fast In Phoenix

Kevin Harvick Was Freaky Fast In Phoenix

by March 3, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Avondale, Ariz. – Kevin Harvick led 224 laps on Sunday afternoon en route to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season at Phoenix International Raceway in The Profit on CNBC 500 presented by Small Business Fueling America.

Early on it appeared as if the race was going to play into the hands of Team Penske teammates, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski as they led a combined 74 laps and were within the top-five for most of the event. But, if they were going to find Victory Lane, they were going to have to hold off Kevin Harvick who was at times tenths faster than anyone, Daytona 500 winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.

“It feels good to run up front, be competitive,” Brad Keselowski said. “Under this system, wins are only things that count. Last year you would have said seconds and thirds are great, but this year they’re not. They’re so-so. We were close. I could see it the whole race. I think some of the long run stuff we were just as good as anybody, then the short run stuff we were just kind of okay.”

Besides a competition caution on lap 35 and another for debris on lap 163, the first accident didn’t take place until lap 172 when Danica Patrick and Justin Allgaier got together in turn one and collected Travis Kvapil who had nowhere to go. Not long after the field went back to green, Patrick spun out once again to bring out the fourth caution of the afternoon, this time due to a flat tire.

Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Hass Automotive Chevrolet SS was strong during the first half of the event, but as the laps winded down, so did his engine, and it finally let go on lap 298 bringing out the eighth and final caution. On the restart with only 9 laps remaining, Kevin Harvick took off and was able to outrun Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Team Penske drivers to capture his fifth victory at Phoenix International Raceway. With Sunday’s win, Harvick now leads all drivers at the raceway.

“Well, this has been a great racetrack for us through the years before the repave, after the repave,” Kevin Harvick said. “I feel like when I come here with Trucks, Nationwide, Cup, these are the types of racetracks I was brought up on. We used to come here for the Copper Classic, the Winston West days. This was our Daytona 500.

“It’s fun to come here. I feel like the flat track stuff is something that we’ve had a good knack at.  Over the years we’ve been able to race a lot of different series and spend a lot of time on this racetrack.  You learn and apply that race after race after race and hopefully you can learn something each week.”

The win also marks Harvick’s first for Stewart-Hass Racing that houses teammates Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick. This year the organization can really shine with the various personalities added to the team. Ryan Newman made the Chase last season, but he has since moved on to Richard Childress Racing. Expanding from three cars to four and having Tony Stewart back behind the wheel, Stewart-Hass Racing will certainly be a force to reckon with as the season rolls on.

“For me you have a three-time champion in Tony Stewart,” Harvick said. “You have Kurt Busch who has won a ton of races and a championship. You have Danica, who wants to get better understanding is like a sponge.

“Our owner is going to come into play and make sure that everybody is doing what they need to do to drive each other in a healthy way to be successful. This is a hard sport. It’s hard to win.  You need to celebrate every win like it’s your last one because you never know when it might be your last one.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Kobalt 400. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the championship points standings by only six points over Brad Keselowski. You can catch the action live on FOX Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. EST or by tuning in to the coverage on the Performance Racing Network.

The Profit on CNBC 500 presented by Small Business Fueling America Top-10 Results:

1.) 4 Kevin Harvick, Jimmy John’s Chevrolet

2.) 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr., National Guard Chevrolet

3.) 2 Brad Keselowski, Alliance Truck Parts Ford

4.) 22 Joey Logano, Shell Pennzoil Ford

5.) 24 Jeff Gordon, Pepsi Max Chevrolet

6.) 48 Jimmie Johnson, Lowe’s Chevrolet

7.) 31 Ryan Newman, Quicken Loans Chevrolet

8.) 99 Carl Edwards, SUBWAY Ford

9.) 18 Kyle Busch, Skittles Toyota

10.) 1 Jamie McMurray, Cessna/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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