BUSCH: Phoenix II: Goodyear Racing race report

Winner: Kevin Harvick, driver of the ...

Winner: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Chevrolet from Richard Childress Racing

Top-five finishers: Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards

Race recap: Kevin Harvick kept his slim championship hopes alive by winning the Nextel Cup race at Phoenix on Sunday. He clearly had the race's dominant car, leading 252 of 312 laps, and beating championship points leader Jimmie Johnson to the checkered flag by a quarter-second after a late-race caution bunched the field.

The race featured 12 lead changes among seven drivers and was slowed by 10 caution flags for 58 laps, nine of those coming in the second half of the race.

Johnson, who has finished first or second in each of the last five races, leads the point standings by 63 over Matt Kenseth with one race remaining in this year's NASCAR playoff format. Johnson only needs to finish 12th or better next weekend to win the title. Harvick and rookie Denny Hamlin are a bit further back, 90 points off the pace, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind by 115.

Goodyear Quote -- Rick Heinrich, sales and marketing manager for stock cars: "For our final short track weekend of the season, we brought a tire combination that has excelled all year long. Sunday's Nextel Cup Series race was critical to the championship contending teams, and their tires performed very well as they fought to pick up as many points as possible."

The series' final event will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway this coming Sunday.

Companion events: Matt Kenseth (Busch Series) and Johnny Benson (Craftsman Truck Series) won NASCAR's other two races at Phoenix over the weekend.

Kenseth led 125 of 203 laps and held off already-crowned Busch champion Kevin Harvick at the final restart to win the Busch race on Saturday night. There were 11 cautions for 49 laps and seven lead changes among five drivers.

Craftsman Truck polesitter Benson suffered a lap-one spin forcing him to the back of the field. He fought back to lead the final 30 laps to beat Mark Martin to the finish line. Todd Bodine holds a 112-point lead over Benson for that series' championship with one race remaining.

-credit: goodyear racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup , NASCAR XFINITY , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Mark Martin