Harvick dominates in Phoenix to score the win

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The Stewart-Haas Chevrolet driver held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. to claim his second victory in as many races at Phoenix.

The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick dominated The Profit on CNBC 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, leading 224 laps of the 312 that made up the race en route to his fifth-career win at Phoenix and his third in the last four races at the track.

The No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second, and the No. 2 Team Penske Ford of Brad Keselowski was third. "This just solidifies so many things, so many decisions," Harvick said of the win, coming in just his second-points paying start since leaving Richard Childress Racing for Stewart-Haas Racing."

Start: Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford leads
Start: Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford leads

Photo by: Getty Images

Keselowski started on the pole, but lost the lead to his Penske teammate Joey Logano in the No. 22 Ford on the first lap. They ran first and second as Harvick, who started the race 13th, worked his way toward the front. By the time a competition caution came oout on lap 35, Harvick was up to the second position. By lap 74, Harvick was in the lead.

By that time, Logano had led 73 laps. That number stood at the checkered flag and was the closest to Harvick's 224 tally by race's end. Once Harvick took the lead from Logano, he remained up front the rest of the distance, with the exception of laps ran during a couple of cycles of green-flag pit stops.

Harvick, Earnhardt and the Penske duo of Logano and Keselowski maintained positions in the top-four for most of the second-half of the reace. For most of that time, Earnhardt ran second to Harvick, with Logano and Keselowski battling for third.

After the first race saw only one caution -- the lap-35 competition caution -- the yellow flag waved seven more times in the second half. Harvick was the leader for all seven of those restarts, with Earnhardt beside him in second for all but one. With each restart, Harvick pulled out in front, away from the field, and Earnhardt battled Logano for awhile for the second spot before he would get his No. 88 out ahead and take control of the position.

"We got running side-by-side there for second and let Kevin get away," Earnhardt said.

Even though Earnhardt was in second, it was Logano that had Harvick concerned on the restarts.

"The 22 was able to time the restarts there, and I knew he was going to try something down low," Harvick said.

On the final restart of the race that followed a lap-297 caution, Earnhardt was able to pull away from Logano quickly to claim second, while Logano battled Keselowski for third. Keselowski got the spot on the final restart, but was unable to chase down Harvick and Earnhardt.

Logano wound up fourth, and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon climbed into the top-five for the finish after passing fellow-HMS driver Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 and the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ryan Newman in the closing laps.

Johnson finished sixth, and Newman seventh. Rounding out the top-10 were the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch and the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race reports
Tags brad keselowski, dale earnhardt jr., jeff gordon, joey logano, kevin harvick, nascar-cup, phoenix