Kevin Harvick Captures Fifth Victory Of Season With Sweep Of 2006 Nascar Nextel Cup Races At Phoenix, Johnson, Hamlin, & Gordon Round Out Top 4 Finishing Spots Victory is Win 23 for Chevy and Breaks Modern Era Single-Season Win Record for Bowtie...
Kevin Harvick Captures Fifth Victory Of Season With Sweep Of 2006 Nascar Nextel Cup Races At Phoenix, Johnson, Hamlin, & Gordon Round Out Top 4 Finishing Spots
Victory is Win 23 for Chevy and Breaks Modern Era Single-Season Win Record for Bowtie Brand; Jimmie Johnson Extends Lead in Chase for the Nextel Cup Heading to Homestead-Miami Season Finale; Monte Carlo SS Drivers Capture Six of Top-10 Finishing Positions
Avondale, AZ - Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Reese's Cookie Monte Carlo SS, completed the sweep of both 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) races at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) with today's victory in the Checker Auto Parts 500. The win was the fifth of the season for Harvick and the10th victory of his NNCS career.
Harvick's convincing victory gave Chevy 23 wins thus far in 2006 and set a new Modern Era single-season win record for the Bowtie brand. It is 596th all-time NNCS win for Chevrolet and the 472nd in the Modern Era.
The trip to victory lane has Harvick sitting third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup with one race remaining on the schedule. He led a total of 252 of the 312 laps in today's race collecting the bonus points for leading a lap and leading the most laps. The additional points helped vault him from fifth to third in the standings and shorten the gap he is down to the leader from 105 to 90 points.
Team Chevy drivers scored six of the top-10 finishing positions in today's race.
"My biggest concern was the alternator shut off," said Harvick. "We didn't have any fans so the brakes would get hot and kinda go away. I knew if I stayed behind him very long, I was going to be in trouble because the brakes would get hot and then the tire would get hot and it would start pushing. It all worked out, we had about 11 volts left on the battery and everything kept going so it was pretty cool.
"The only thing going through my mind (on that last restart) was what is the vicinity of the restart and how far can I push it. I knew we had a lot more area to play with than I normally thought we did. It all worked out. "I am just proud we get to give away 29 Chevrolet Avalanches as part of the GM Goodwrench Expertise Challenge so that is pretty cool for our fans.
"I wish we were a little closer than we are in the points, but we did everything we could do today. However it falls, it falls. We have had a good year."
With his runner-up finish tonight, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS, extended his lead in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings to 63 with the season finale next weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway. Today was the third consecutive time Johnson has scored the second place finishing position giving him 13 top-five finishes for the season and his fifth consecutive first or second place finish. If Johnson finishes 12th place or better in the final NNCS race next weekend, he will be the 2006 champion, his career-first.
"Great battle all day long with the No. 29 he had a great car," said Johnson. "He was one of the best cars and he did a great job. Being able to run here with Kevin (Harvick) at one of his best tracks says a lot about our Lowe's Chevrolet team so we are real proud.
"We had a great race car, I had a lot of confidence over the last couple of days after our qualifying effort knowing that we would be able to race strong today. We had a bad draw in qualifying and paid the price for that, but I took my time to drive a smart race to get up through the field and race for the win at the end. "Now we go to Miami, do all we can do and see what happens. We just have to keep doing what we have been doing these past weeks and that is all we can do."
Raybestos Rookie Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Monte Carlo SS, was third when the checkered flag flew tonight. He held on to fourth in the standings and is tied with Harvick at 90 points down to Johnson.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, finished fourth n the Checkers Auto Parts 500 and sits sixth in the standings, 167 points behind the leader.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS, finished ninth in today's race and sits fifth in the Chase standings, 115 points behind the leader.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS, finished 10th at PIR and is seventh in the standings, 225 points out of the lead.
Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS, was caught up in a three-car accident and finished 38th today. He is now 359 points behind leader Johnson.
Chevrolet has locked up the 2006 Manufacturers' Cup. The standings following today's race are: Chevrolet, 273 points (23 wins); Dodge, 199 points (7 wins) and Ford, 193 points (5 wins).
The final race of the 2006 season will be the Ford 400 on November 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
-credit: gm racing