Harvick edges Edwards in thrilling photo finish

Harvick edges Edwards in thrilling photo finish
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Mar 13, 2016, 11:25 PM

Kevin Harvick continued his dominance in the desert on Sunday, but he didn't win it without a fight.

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

For the eighth time at Phoenix International Raceway — and his sixth time in the last eight races — Harvick wheeled his way to Victory Lane. 

Harvick started 18th but took the lead 169 circuits later. Harvick held the point when Kasey Kahne ignited the fifth and final caution on Lap 307 which sent the Good Sam 500 into overtime.  

We made (Harvick) work for it. That's more than we've been able to do here the last few times

Carl Edwards on fight for the win

Crew chief Rodney Childers elected to keep the No. 4 Chevy of the track. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was running second at the time of Kahne’s accident, also remained on track along with Austin Dillon. But third-place Carl Edwards — and the remaining cars on the lead lap pitted prior to the final shoot out. 

Run to the checkered flag

With two new right side tires, Edwards made a run and quickly caught Kevin Harvick setting up a battle on the white flag lap.  

“He was a little better at the bottom, but I missed the bottom there,” Harvick said. 

And that enabled Edwards to pull up alongside Harvick. Although the two banged doors down the front stretch, Harvick held on by 0.010-second at the finish line over Edwards. 


“I knew he was better through (Turns) 3 and 4,” said Harvick, who led 139 laps. “That was not the car that I wanted to see behind me. I knew I could beat him down there and I tried to protect the bottom in 3 and 4 and I just missed the bottom with all the rubber build-up on the tires and everything. 

“But, all in all, I knew I was going to be on defense down there. I got up too high and wasn’t able to stay on the bottom like I wanted to and then he got into me, like he should have, and I needed to get a good run off the corner and I was going to have to get into his door and it worked out, just barely.

Another top five result for Edwards

Edwards’ second-place finish marked his third top-five finish of 2016. 

“I'm really proud of my guys for giving me a shot to win the race,” Edwards said. “We were a third‑place car there at the end. Dale and Kevin were both really fast. Caution came out, Dave (crew chief Rogers) rolled the dice, and we got a shot at it. We made him work for it. That's more than we've been able to do here the last few times.  

“Just a lot of fun. I really wish it would have worked out a little bit differently, but it's a good race. I ran into him about as hard as I thought I could without wrecking him, and it ended up being a drag race. It was kind of fun coming to the line because I thought, man, I got him, and then he doored me real hard and then he got a little run and then I tried to door him and slow him down, but it just didn't work.

Denny Hamlin, who recovered from 26th following an uncontrolled tire during the first caution on Lap 54, finished third followed by Kyle Busch and Earnhardt.

"Sorry, I couldn't do much on the bottom,” Earnhardt told the crew following the race. “Hell of a race car.”

Busch, who started from the pole, also came back during the race from pit road woes during the third caution on Lap 165. Busch was second when he entered his pits, but parked the No. 18 Toyota was too close to the wall and initially the team was unable to change his left-side tires. Busch dropped to 18th when the race restarted on Lap 169.

Race marred by tire issues

All five cautions in Sunday’s race were the result of melted beads due to excessive brake heat. Ryan Newman was the first victim on Lap 52, followed by Paul Menard (Lap 106), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Lap 163), Brad Keselowski (Lap 226) and Kahne on Lap 307.

Harvick’s victory marks his 32 career Sprint Cup win and his ninth since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. 

“I just like racing here,” Harvick said. “It’s just one of those places where I feel like I’ve been here enough times to where I can move around and find something to make our car work.  We struggled a lot this weekend to get the balance where we wanted to, but we knew the feel that we were looking for, and we got pretty close there in Happy Hour and still in the race. 

“I feel like I was good through (Turns) 1 and 2 and at times, was good through (Turns) 4 and 4, but it was very edgy. Maybe that’s a product of the new package or the tires or whatever it is.”

Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Dillon and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10 finishes. 

Harvick gained two positions in the standings with the win, now tied with Kyle Busch for the points lead. Jimmie Johnson trails by 14 points, Kurt Busch by 17 and Carl Edwards by 18.
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