Kevin Harvick wins second straight at Phoenix

Mar. 02, 2014 @ 07:13 PM

Kevin Harvick charged to the front early and dominated the rest of the way Sunday for his second straight Sprint Cup victory at Phoenix International Raceway.

Coming off a disappointing finish at the Daytona 500, Harvick had the fastest car in practice and kept it rolling in the race, leading 224 of 312 laps on the odd-shaped mile oval.

Harvick won the fall race at PIR for Richard Childress Racing after Carl Edwards ran out of fuel at the white flag. Harvick needed no help Sunday, quickly moving to the front after starting 13th and pulling away on a series of late restarts to win in his second race with Stewart-Haas Racing. It was Harvick's fifth Sprint Cup win at PIR, most on the career list.

Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, pole sitter Brad Keselowski was third and Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano fourth.

Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five on a warm and partly cloudy day after downpours wiped out the final 32 laps of Saturday's Nationwide race, won by Kyle Busch

Harvick won at Phoenix during the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in the fall, giving him an outside shot at catching Jimmie Johnson for the series title in his final season with Richard Childress Racing. He came up short, but the victory and a third-place finish in the standings gave him a bit of momentum heading into for his first season with Stewart-Haas.

Harvick had a solid finish in his sights at Daytona last week before a last-lap crash dropped him to 13th.

At Phoenix, Harvick just missed the final stage of knockout qualifying, nipped by 0.001 seconds, but had the fastest car in Saturday morning's final practice session.

He started 13th and quickly moved his way through the field from the green flag, passing Keselowski on the apron, then Logano for the lead on lap 74. Harvick maintained the lead coming out of green-flag pit stops with just under 200 laps left and again with about 70 laps left.

A series of cautions came out late in the race and Harvick easily pulled away each time to earn a quick win with SHR on the same weekend he celebrated his 13th wedding anniversary with wife DeLana.

Earnhardt had a whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500, needing his girlfriend to get him extra clothes while he went on a media tour. He had a solid follow-up, putting the distractions aside to qualify fifth.

Earnhardt worked his way up in the opening third of the race, passing Logano and Keselowski to pull up behind Harvick. He dropped back a couple times and fought back to get Harvick within his sights again, but didn't have enough to track him down.

NASCAR's new knockout qualifying system made its Sprint Cup debut at Phoenix and Keselowski came out on top, edging Logano for his fourth career pole.

Not long after that, Keselowski found out he would be without his crew chief for the race; Paul Wolfe left the desert back to North Carolina for the birth of his first child.

With team engineer Brian Wilson and its Nationwide Series competition director Greg Erwin at the helm, Keselowski ran near the front all day, but, like everyone else, didn't have the speed to keep up with Harvick.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday
At Phoenix International Raceway
Avondale, Ariz.
Lap length: 1 miles
(Start position in parentheses)

1. (13) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 312 laps, 149.9 rating, 48 points, $260,048.

2. (5) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 312, 122.5, 42, $172,240.

3. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 312, 115.9, 42, $180,673.

4. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 312, 124.3, 41, $159,641.

5. (17) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 312, 108.1, 40, $159,326.

6. (4) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 312, 111.8, 38, $152,266.

7. (15) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 312, 98.8, 38, $104,380.

8. (23) Carl Edwards, Ford, 312, 96.5, 37, $117,330.

9. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 312, 101.5, 35, $132,871.

10. (3) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 312, 93.5, 34, $122,444.

11. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 312, 78.4, 33, $101,430.

12. (19) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 312, 90, 32, $130,266.

13. (14) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 312, 83.2, 32, $118,671.

14. (18) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 312, 71.2, 30, $108,513.

15. (9) Aric Almirola, Ford, 312, 88, 29, $119,066.

16. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 312, 81.7, 28, $114,963.

17. (6) Greg Biffle, Ford, 312, 80.8, 27, $120,480.

18. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 312, 62.7, 26, $115,605.

19. (12) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 312, 79.9, 25, $87,480.

20. (8) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 312, 74.7, 24, $108,200.

21. (29) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 311, 62.6, 23, $105,250.

22. (27) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 311, 66.4, 22, $106,538.

23. (22) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 311, 68.1, 21, $105,594.

24. (24) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 311, 55.1, 20, $123,466.

25. (16) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 311, 67.1, 19, $110,680.

26. (25) A J Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 310, 64.4, 18, $93,938.

27. (31) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 310, 44.2, 17, $74,355.

28. (30) David Ragan, Ford, 310, 53.5, 16, $99,588.

29. (28) David Gilliland, Ford, 309, 52.4, 16, $96,863.

30. (43) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 309, 46.3, 14, $96,002.

31. (39) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 308, 38.5, 13, $76,790.

32. (32) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 308, 42.9, 0, $76,105.

33. (26) Michael McDowell, Ford, 307, 42.5, 11, $73,480.

34. (41) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 307, 43.2, 10, $73,355.

35. (34) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 307, 34.1, 9, $73,230.

36. (33) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 306, 51.7, 8, $81,075.

37. (37) Blake Koch, Ford, 306, 30, 0, $72,946.

38. (40) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 302, 30.2, 6, $68,380.

39. (10) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, engine, 292, 73.6, 5, $64,380.

40. (38) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 292, 25.9, 0, $68,380.

41. (35) Alex Bowman, Toyota, brakes, 230, 40.6, 3, $56,380.

42. (36) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, engine, 226, 29.4, 2, $52,380.

43. (42) Morgan Shepherd, Toyota, brakes, 28, 25.3, 0, $48,880.

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Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 109.229 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 51 minutes, 23 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.489 seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 38 laps.

Lead Changes: 14 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J.Logano 1-37; D.Gilliland 38-39; B.Keselowski 40; J.Logano 41-73; K.Harvick 74-110; B.Keselowski 111-112; K.Harvick 113-190; J.Logano 191; K.Harvick 192-236; C.Edwards 237; J.Gordon 238-241; R.Newman 242-247; C.Bowyer 248; K.Harvick 249-312.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Harvick, 4 times for 224 laps; J.Logano, 3 times for 71 laps; R.Newman, 1 time for 6 laps; J.Gordon, 1 time for 4 laps; B.Keselowski, 2 times for 3 laps; D.Gilliland, 1 time for 2 laps; C.Edwards, 1 time for 1 lap; C.Bowyer, 1 time for 1 lap.

Wins: D.Earnhardt Jr., 1; K.Harvick, 1.

Top 12 in Points: 1. D.Earnhardt Jr., 90; 2. Bra.Keselowski, 84; 3. J.Gordon, 80; 4. K.Harvick, 79; 5. J.Johnson, 78; 6. J.Logano, 75; 7. M.Kenseth, 70; 8. D.Hamlin, 68; 9. C.Edwards, 65; 10. G.Biffle, 64; 11. J.McMurray, 64; 12. C.Mears, 64.

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NASCAR Driver Rating Formula

A maximum of 150 points can be attained in a race.

The formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.