Harvick ends drought with win in Phoenix 500

Harvick ends drought with win in Phoenix 500
Nov 12, 2012, 2:01 AM

Kevin Harvick drove his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet into victory lane following the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway to celebrate his first win in over a year.

The race was dominated by the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch and produced a late-race brawl between the crews of Clint Bowyer's No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota and Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet,

"We want to win races, and we want to be competitive, and that's what we're going to do," Harvick said.

As cars were wrecking and sliding across the start/finish line under the checkered flag, Denny Hamlin finished second in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Busch was third.

Kyle Busch dominated the race, with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin getting by to lead a few laps in the No. 11 Toyota, and Brad Keselowski getting his No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge to the front to collect a bonus point.

Harvick got out in front of Busch with eight laps to go to assume the lead and drive on to the win. He questioned whether or not the fuel he had left in his car would get him to the finish when extra laps were added for a green-white-checker finish after an incident between Gordon and Bowyer brought out the yellow with two laps to go.

"I was just thinking about not over-driving the corner and how much gas I had," Harvick said.

Gordon, frustrated with the way Bowyer had been racing him lately, had finally had enough and intentionally got into Bowyer, sending both drivers into the wall and also collecting the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Joey Logano.

While cars parked on the race track under the red flag for track cleanup, the No. 15 and No. 24 crews brawled, and Bowyer ran to the No. 24 transporter in search of Gordon. Both drivers and several other members of both teams were called to the NASCAR trailer for a meeting while police officers waited outside to escort Gordon to his motorhome.

Bowyer's crew chief, Brian Pattie, wasn't sure exactly what had made Gordon upset, thinking that maybe the two made contact in turn three, but he wasn't sure because he didn't see it.

"It's about the fifth time he's (Bowyer) run us over, and we're getting tired of that," Gordon's crew chief Alan Gustafson said. "If you're going to race like that, you shouldn't be mad when you get it back."

When the race went back to green for the final two laps, Harvick was able to make his fuel last, but the last couple of laps weren't without incident. As the field headed toward the checkered flag, Keselowski's No. 2, the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota of Mark Martin, the No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet of Danica Patrick, the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet of Kurt Busch, the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet of Ryan Newman, and the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Paul Menard were involved in a multi-car incident that sent several of them across the start/finish line sideways.

"I raced pretty hard last week at Texas and got flack for it," Keselowski said. "There's a difference between that and what we saw today. That was borderline ridiculous."

Kasey Kahne finished fourth in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and Newman slid across the line right behind him to finish fifth.

Keselowski finished sixth to retake the championship points lead and built up a 20-point cushion for next week's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson had a tire go down with 77 laps to go and made hard impact with the wall, sending him to the garage for repairs. He returned to the track later to finish 32nd.

"That's racing," Johnson said. "We'll just go down to Homestead and do what we can. Another 30 or 40 feet down the corner and we probably would've just had a flat and not hit the wall."

Even with the sizable lead, Keselowski's not taking anything for granted.

"Obviously, there's no guarantees," Keselowski said. "The same thing could happen to us next week, and Jimmie could take back over."

Finishing seventh through 10th were the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Menard and Martin.

Next article
Bowyer and Gordon incident causes fist-cuffs at PIR - video

Previous article

Bowyer and Gordon incident causes fist-cuffs at PIR - video

Next article

Tempers flare in Phoenix 500 at the penultimate Cup race - Video

Tempers flare in Phoenix 500 at the penultimate Cup race - Video
Load comments