Kevin Harvick’s Historic Run Continues With 500 Victory

Kevin Harvick’s Historic Run Continues With 500 Victory

by March 15, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

By: Hunter Thomas
Twitter: @HunterThomas08

AVONDALE, Ariz. – With Sunday’s win in the 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Kevin Harvick became the first driver to capture seven consecutive finishes within the top-two since Richard Petty back in 1975.

Harvick started on pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, and he led 224 laps en route to his 30th career series victory. He has won the last four races at Phoenix International Raceway and has led 782 laps within those four events. Harvick now has led a total of 1,202 laps at the raceway. Winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as this weekend’s event at Phoenix International Raceway, Harvick will have a chance to sweep NASCAR’s West Coast swing next weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

“I think when you look at the start of this year, we know each other so much better,” Harvick said. “We have a lot of things different than what we had last year and we had that experience of everything that we did to race for the championship. So, I just feel like the bond between this team is really special. Rodney Childers (crew chief) and myself and the engineers and everybody gets along so good. It’s almost scary how well things are going. You don’t want to talk about it too much because you want it to keep going. But I’m just really proud of these guys on this team and everything that they do.”

The race saw eight lead changes among four drivers, and there were 10 cautions. It didn’t take long for the first caution to fly. On lap three, Jimmie Johnson got into the back of Brian Vickers on the frontstretch, sending Vickers to the garage for lengthy repairs. Johnson finished 11th, and Vickers finished 41st.

“I don’t know,” Vickers said. “I came out of turn four and my spotter said, ‘All clear.’ I went up to the wall and all of the sudden I got hit from behind. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if Jimmie (Johnson) was outside and if he was then I was told I was all clear and if he wasn’t outside or if he was outside by an inch then it seems kind of early to wreck someone on lap one. I don’t know whose fault it was, I just know I got hit from behind and I was against the wall and my spotter said, ‘All clear.’ That’s pretty much all the information I’ve got.”

Entering the weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had two third place finishes and one fourth place finish, but on Sunday, his hot streak melted away when a right rear tire let go while exiting Turn 2. Earnhardt Jr. pounded the outside wall and brought out the caution on lap 182. He retired from the event and finished 43rd.

Read more about Earnhardt Jr.’s accident by clicking the following link:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Crashes Out of 500

Tony Stewart is having a rough start to the 2015 season, and Sunday’s race certainly didn’t make things easier. He made contact with Justin Allgaier and spun into the outside wall in Turn 4 to bring out the caution on lap 238. The caution flew once again on lap 290 when Stewart nailed the outside wall on the frontstretch. Stewart finished 39th and is now mired back in 36th in the championship point standings.

The final caution came out on lap 297 when Regan Smith got into the back of Danica Patrick, spinning her around in Turn 4. During the caution, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and other stayed out on the track, but Kurt Busch who had been running second at the time, as well as Jeff Gordon and other decided to make a pit stop.

The field got the green flag with only 12 laps to go, and Kevin Harvick was able to hold off a hard charging Jamie McMurray for the victory. Ryan Newman finished third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch.

“It means I’ve got a strong team,” Busch said. “And personally it’s great to get back to them and produce a result like this on our first day back. It’s a quality car. Haas Automation and Gene Haas and everybody that’s there; I went over and visited the headquarters this week and I can’t thank them enough for believing in me. The truth will be shown later on. But, the way that we raced today, it was with heart. And I thought there had been enough good will in the bank to try bring home a win. But Kevin (Harvick, race winner) was tough. Congratulations to my teammate, Kevin Harvick for winning. We had a great day. To run up there and almost lead a lap; I was just too loose on restarts and couldn’t quite capitalize on some of those positions that I needed to gain early in a run.”

Read more about Kurt Busch’s phenomenal performance by clicking the following link: Kurt Busch Comes Home Fifth In NASCAR Return

Kevin Harvick now leads Joey Logano in the championship point standings by 22. Martin Truex Jr. who’s only 27 point back from Harvick, sits third in the championship point standings. Truex Jr. finished seventh on Sunday and earned Furniture Row Racing’s record, fourth consecutive top-10 finish.

“It was good,” Truex Jr. said. “We had a lot strong car I think than seventh. We got that one set of tires that one pit stop and we restarted fourth or fifth. We were just completely sideways that whole run and the whole next run. We got tore up on pit road and had to go back to 24th. It was a hell of a rebound. A really good pit call by Cole (Pearn, crew chief) to stay out on the last pit stop. We were able to pass a couple of cars there at the end and get a top 10. I felt like we had a better car than that, but with the circumstances today, with 50 to go I felt there was no way we were going to finish top 20. To get a top 10 feel good.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will conclude the West Coast swing on Sunday, March 22 when the series visits Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400. Coverage of the event will air live on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3:30 p.m. ET. 500 Results:
1.) #4 Kevin Harvick
2.) #1 Jamie McMurray
3.) #31 Ryan Newman
4.) #5 Kasey Kahne
5.) #41 Kurt Busch
6.) #2 Brad Keselowski
7.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.
8.) #22 Joey Logano
9.) #24 Jeff Gordon
10.) #42 Kyle Larson
11.) #48 Jimmie Johnson
12.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
13.) #19 Carl Edwards
14.) #27 Paul Menard
15.) #3 Austin Dillon
16.) #20 Matt Kenseth
17.) #47 AJ Allmendinger
18.) #51 Justin Allgaier
19.) 43 Aric Almirola
20.) #13 Casey Mears
21.) #18 David Ragan
22.) #40 Landon Cassill
23.) #11 Denny Hamlin
24.) #15 Clint Bowyer
25.) #35 Cole Whitt
26.) #10 Danica Patrick
27.) #16 Greg Biffle
28.) #6 Trevor Bayne
29.) #38 David Gilliland
30.) #7 Alex Bowman
31.) #23 JJ Yeley
32.) #34 Brett Moffitt
33.) #32 Mike Bliss
34.) #26 Jeb Burton
35.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto
36.) #98 Josh Wise
37.) #62 Brendan Gaughan
38.) #33 Alex Kennedy
39.) #14 Tony Stewart
40.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.
41.) #55 Brian Vickers
42.) #46 Michael Annett
43.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top-16 Driver Point Standings:
1.) #4 Kevin Harvick
2.) #22 Joey Logano -22
3.) #78 Martin Truex Jr. -27
4.) #5 Kasey Kahne -50
5.) #47 AJ Allmendinger -55
6.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -56
7.) #48 Jimmie Johnson -58
8.) #31 Ryan Newman -59
9.) #2 Brad Keselowski -66
10.) #20 Matt Kenseth -69
11.) #27 Paul Menard -70
12.) #13 Casey Mears -71
13.) #11 Denny Hamlin -74
14.) #43 Aric Almirola -77
15.) #15 Clint Bowyer -81
16.) #16 Greg Biffle -81

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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