AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 1) - Kevin Harvick drove the PayDay Chevrolet to a second-place finish in the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, where rain and darkness ended the race 15 laps early. "We were really good...
AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 1) - Kevin Harvick drove the PayDay Chevrolet to a second-place finish in the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, where rain and darkness ended the race 15 laps early.
"We were really good all day long," said Harvick, who earned his eighth top-two finish of the season and his 17th top-10 finish in as many starts. "Unfortunately we had some bad luck on pit road, and we ran out of time when the rain came."
The PayDay team remains the top-ranked unit in the team standings, leading the No. 10 team (Scott Riggs) by 254 points. Two races are left in the season. If Harvick finishes 26th or better at Rockingham with zero bonus points for laps led, then Richard Childress Racing clinches the championship, even if Riggs finishes first in both races and earns an extra 10 bonus points laps led in both races and Harvick finishes 43rd in Miami with zero bonus points.
In turn, if Harvick finishes 43rd in Rockingham with zero bonus points, then he must finish at least 26th with zero bonus points at Rockingham, assuming Riggs wins both races and earns 10 bonus points in each race.
Harvick qualified the PayDay Chevrolet on the pole at Phoenix for the fifth time this season. Harvick's lap set a new track qualifying record at Phoenix for the Busch Series, and it was Harvick's third qualifying record of the year. After a great final practice, Harvick and the PayDay team were optimistic for the race.
When the green flag fell on Saturday, so did the rain. The field ran under caution for four laps until the heavier rain forced NASCAR to stop the event with the red flag for several hours.
Once the track was dried, racing resumed with the first 12 laps run under caution. When the field was permitted to race at full speed, Harvick wasted no time running away from the field and cruising comfortably in the lead.
A caution flag on lap 52 brought Harvick and the PayDay Chevrolet down pit road for the first pit stop of the day. Harvick had few complaints of the PayDay Chevrolet, so four tires and fuel was all that was required. Harvick returned to the racing surface in the lead.
Harvick's car handled loosely on the restart, and by lap 60, he gave the lead to Bobby Hamilton Jr. Harvick worked diligently to regain the top spot on lap 101. The caution flag waved again right after Harvick regained the point. He brought the PayDay Chevrolet down pit road for its final round of service on the day. Four tires and fuel was all it needed. Harvick returned to the racing surface in fourth after a lengthy pit stop.
Harvick then battled back through the field and made up the four-second deficit between himself and Hamilton by lap 160.
The caution flag waved on lap 166, which bunched the field. Harvick and Hamilton again battled for the lead on the restart. On lap 175, the caution flag again waved for rain.
NASCAR ended the race on lap 181 due to the rain and darkness. Harvick finished in the second position.
The series returns to the (Rockingham) North Carolina Speedway next week, for the next-to-last race of the season.