Racingone Rewind: Phoenix

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A look back at Kevin Harvick's sixth career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win in Saturday night's Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway including news, notes and observations by RacingOne's own Pete Pistone and Jeff Wackerlin.

Inside Line
Kevin Harvick passed Greg Biffle with ten laps to go and went on to win the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, ending a 39 race drought dating back to his win at Bristol in March of 2005.

Keys to Victory Lane
While Biffle had the dominant car, he ran short of fuel and Harvick was able to run him down for the race-winning pass on lap 302. Several other drivers including Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also came up one lap short of fuel.

Zero to Hero
Tony Stewart qualified third, but was forced to start 43rd after a crew member inadvertently turned in the set of tires used in qualifying, breaking a NASCAR rule of not starting a race on the same tires used in time trials. But the defending series champion was able to come from the rear of the field to score a runner-up finish.

Hero to Zero
Biffle appeared ready to end the season-long drought until bad luck once again reached out and bit him, losing the lead to Harvick and then running out of fuel with two laps to go to finish 16th. Polesitter Kyle Busch finished 36th after getting together with Casey Mears.

Notables
Bobby Labonte gave Petty Enterprises another top-10 finish with an eighth-place run in the Cheerios Dodge. Jeff Burton brought the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet home ninth after starting 37th, to give RCR three cars in the top 10. And Sterling Marlin gave the MB2 Motorsports team a season best 13th-place finish in the Waste Management Chevrolet.

Rookie of the Race
Clint Bowyer led his first career NEXTEL Cup laps on Saturday night and brought home his Sylvania Chevrolet to a career-high fifth-place finish.

What's the Points?
Matt Kenseth took over the points lead from Jimmie Johnson and now leads the standings by nine over Johnson and 51 over Kasey Kahne. Carl Edwards made the biggest gain jumping six positions into 16th making him eligible for the "Chase" within the 400-point rule. Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin each took hits falling four positions each to 18th and 22nd, respectively.

Where Are They Now?
Where last year "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup competitors currently are in the standings: Matt Kenseth (first), Jimmie Johnson (second), Mark Martin (fourth), Tony Stewart (fifth), Carl Edwards (16th), Kurt Busch (17th), Greg Biffle (21st), Ryan Newman (22nd) and Jeremy Mayfield (34th). NEXTEL Cup Standings

Pit Stops
  • Kevin Harvick captured his sixth career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win in his 186th start and first at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was also his second top five in seven starts at PIR. Detailed Active Driver Wins
  • Harvick won the 77th race - second at PIR - for car owner Richard Childress. The win was the first since Harvick's victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in April 2005. Detailed Active Car Owner Wins
  • Harvick became the 22nd driver to win a race from the 15th starting position. Starting Position Facts
  • Harvick once for the final 10 laps. Greg Biffle led the most with 151. Lap Summary
  • Harvick's win was the 577th overall for Chevrolet. All-Time Manufacturer Wins
  • Tony Stewart's second-place finish was his fourth top five at PIR in nine starts.
  • Matt Kenseth (third) captured his first top five at PIR since winning in 2002. It was also his fourth top 10 in eight starts.
  • Carl Edwards finished fourth in his debut with crew chief Wally Brown.
  • Clint Bowyer, who was the highest finishing rookie, captured his career best NEXTEL Cup finish with his fifth-place effort.
  • Kasey Kahne lowered his PIR finishing average from 16.3 to 13.8 with his sixth-place finish.
  • Jimmie Johnson (seventh)has now finished 15th or better in six starts at PIR.
  • Bobby Labonte's eighth-place finish was his fourth consecutive top-10 finish at PIR.
  • Jeff Burton (ninth) captured his seventh top 10 at PIR in his 14th start.
  • Jeff Gordon's 10th-place finish was his 12th top 10 at PIR.
  • The 312-lap race saw 20 lead changes among 11 drivers and an average speed of 107.063 mph.
  • Seven caution flags were thrown for 29 laps.
  • Tonight's Subway Fresh 500 lasted 2 hours, 54 minutes, 51 seconds.

    Lug Nuts
  • If timing is everything, Kevin Harvick's new contract with RCR should be finalized any day now.
  • Greg Biffle has to be scouring the planet for some kind of good luck charm.
  • By the way, what happened to Jared? Jon Lovitz and "Eat Fresh!" doesn't do it for us.
  • Michael Waltrip's post-incident interview sure didn't muster up a lot of sympathy for the old boy, did it?
  • Mikey's gonna have his hands full trying to make the race at Talladega next week based on where he is now in owners' points and his recent restrictor plate track qualifying performances.
  • Big brother DW sure called out Kurt Busch for not being able to apologize for any mistakes he makes, ala Junior's "my bad" for running into a rear bumper.
  • While the Busch family winning streak at Phoenix ended, the brothers' record of acting like jerks remained intact with Kyle's smackdown of Casey Mears.
  • Still uneasy when the invocation has a myriad of sponsor plugs.
  • Bravo Bobby Labonte.
  • Also kudos to Sterling Marlin.
  • Anyone seen Ryan Newman this year?

    Garage Talk
  • "All I know is while he's been gone, we're undefeated. If I was him, I'd stay away until we at least lost." - Kevin Harvick on car owner Richard Childress
  • "There were probably too many chefs in the kitchen now working on tires." - J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • "No worries, it's a lot more fun this way." - Tony Stewart
  • "The window net fell down with about 25 laps to go, and I was driving and trying to get it latched back up at the same time. They finally black flagged us and we had to come in with four laps to go to get it back up to their approval." -Kurt Busch

    Media Center
  • Harvick talks about his high regard for RCR and says he wants things to work out there. Listen
  • Harvick talks about how things have changed this year. Listen
  • Crew Chief Todd Berrier shares his view on the Harvick contract situation. Listen
  • Stewart talks about the tire miscue that sent him to the rear of the field to start the race. Listen
  • Clint Bowyer talks about his strong run. Listen

    RacingOne Rating
    On a scale of 1 to 10 desert rattle snakes (those people up on that hill are pretty brave), we'll give Saturday night's Subway Fresh 500 an eight. Some pretty good racing along the way with all kinds of drama at the end turned it into an exciting night all in all. Phoenix at night still looks cool and the racing actually got better as the night wore on. Now it's round two of the restrictor-plate season as we buckle our seatbelts and head to Talladega for next Sunday's Aaron's 499.
    
            
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