Kevin Harvick Dominates In Las Vegas To Capture 100th NASCAR National Series Winby Camille Jones March 4, 2018 0 comments
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Kevin Harvick sailed off to his second victory of the season in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Harvick led 214 of 267 laps on his way to his 100th win in NASCAR’s top-three series.
Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford has seen two dominant performances in three races this season. Harvick’s victory on Sunday comes just one week after his win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“We have definitely had three good race cars with the Xfinity car and the Cup car and we had a good race car at Daytona as well and got caught up in a wreck,” Harvick said following his win. “As you look at the last two weeks and our 1.5-mile program in general it has been really good since I started here at SHR. They put a lot of effort into everything we do from every standpoint to get these cars going like they are. I have to thank everyone from Stewart-Haas Racing, Gene and Tony, it is fun to have them here when we win. Everybody who helps put this thing on the race track, we couldn’t do it without them. And the fans for coming out to the racetrack today. We really appreciate you all coming out. It is always fun for me to win on the west coast and I didn’t have a lot of luck here until I came to SHR. It is great to win on the west coast for me.”
On Sunday, 42-year-old Harvick added his 39th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win to his 47 wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 14 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Harvick becomes only the fourth driver in history to capture 100 wins across the NASCAR national series. He joins Richard Petty (200 wins), Kyle Busch (184 wins) and David Pearson (106 wins).
“I think as you look back and you look at all the different wins and the wins that we have had here and at KHI (Kevin Harvick Incorporated) and Richard Childress Racing and JR Motorsports,” Harvick said. “All the different vehicles I have been fortunate to drive, and there have been a lot of good ones. I know how hard it is to get to victory lane and to know we have been there 100 times is something I almost can’t fathom.”
Las Vegas native, Kyle Busch put up a fight to try and take the win from Harvick, but Harvick’s dominant Ford opened up a lead of more than three seconds by the conclusion of the race. Busch was forced to settle for a second-place finish in his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Caramel Toyota.
“Yeah, we had a good race,” Busch said. “We just were off a little bit there in the beginning of the race with the cycle tires from qualifying. We just didn’t have it early on, just super, super loose, but Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys made some great adjustments to flip that and be on the tight side for the majority of the rest of the day, but at least it was drivable and we could start making some passes and making some gains on people, especially on long runs when they would get loose, our car would kind of come to life and be super fast, probably lap 20 on into a run.
“You know, just had a decent day, I guess,” Busch added. “Certainly would have liked to have been able to run down the 4 (Kevin Harvick) or catch the 4 and put on a race, but they were just so far out there and so far class of the field all day long, I don’t think anybody was really keeping up with them. Proud of our effort and what we were able to do here today, and we’ll go to Phoenix.”
Kyle Larson claimed the third finishing position. Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet finished third in all three stages of Sunday’s race.
“Yeah, it was a good race for us, finished third, I think, in both stages and third in the race,” Larson said. “You know, solid day. Had to fight pretty hard there a few times throughout the race just from losing a lot of track position on the pit stops and stuff. I don’t honestly know what was going on yet with the pit stops, but we’ll watch some tape, and if it was something I was doing wrong, we’ll fix that up.”
Larson continued and said, “But yeah, it was a good day. Our Credit One Bank Chevy was fast. Nowhere near Harvick’s level, but I felt like for most of the day we were second or third best, so happy about that, and yeah, you know, with coming back later in the year for a playoff race, it’s nice to know that you’ve been fast here now the last two years and hopefully can continue that.”
Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney completed the top-five in the finishing order, while Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Erik Jones, Paul Menard and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-10.
The race was broken up into three stages. The first two stages were 80 laps, followed by a 107-lap final stage. Harvick won all three stages in the race.
The lone multi-car incident in the race brought out the caution on lap 184 when Kurt Busch slid up the track and made hard contact with the side of Chase Elliott’s car, piling both into the outside wall. Both cars sustained significant damage in the wreck, ending both of their races. Elliott finished 34th, and Busch finished 35th.
“I was running the low groove and it just stepped out on me,” Busch said. “I wasn’t even trying to fill the whole or go 100%. I had it at 90% and I knew Chase was going to be on my outside and it was just that quick. We were back there in the dirty air, but turn four, I always know it is slick and I wasn’t even pushing through there and it stepped out on me. Ruined his day, ruined my day. I hate it for all the Chase Elliott fans and the Kurt Busch fans and my hometown fans. I wasn’t even pushing hard. I knew we had one more stop and then we were going to go. It just stepped out on me. It is ridiculous.”
After just three races, Kevin Harvick holds the lead in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings. Team Penske’s Joey Logano trails by three points.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to competition next weekend at ISM Raceway (formerly known as Phoenix Raceway) for the Ticket Guardian 500 on March 11. Live coverage will broadcast on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3:30 p.m. ET.
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Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images
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