Harvick Dominates in the Desert

Kevin Harvick

Harvick's five victories at Phoenix International Raceway leads all drivers. (Photo: Getty Images)


Race Results

Kevin Harvick led 224 laps on his way to a dominating win in Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Harvick was able to stay ahead of the field on a final restart with nine laps to go and drove away to become the all-time Phoenix Sprint Cup Series win leader with five.

The victory was his first as a member of Stewart-Haas Racing and with crew chief Rodney Childers.

"I just have to thank everybody on this Jimmy John’s Chevrolet for all the work and effort and really everybody at Stewart-Haas," Harvick said. "To add an extra team, bring in a bunch of new guys, new driver, Rodney Childers has just done a phenomenal job of putting this team together. These guys all want to win that is why they came here."

It was Harvick’s 24th career Sprint Cup win and third in his last four Phoenix starts.

“I’m just really happy and thank everybody at the Hendrick engine shop and all these cars sharing information,” Harvick said. “Dale Jr. racing there for second was a lot of fun. Man, this is awesome!”

Last week’s Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried to run Harvick down in the closing laps but was forced to settle for second.

“I would have loved to have won the race, am a little disappointed to have come that close,” Earnhardt said. “But our team is performing so well. Got a lot of great chemistry and good communication going back and forth. Everybody's confidence is very high. Everybody's mood and morale is really high.”

Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five.

Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray completed the first ten finishers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for next Sunday’s Kobalt 400.

Why Harvick Won: Harvick clearly had the dominant car all weekend. Although he missed a chance to move into the group eligible to run for the pole in Friday’s new knockout qualifying format, Harvick wasted no time driving from the 13th starting position to the front of the field.

Once ahead Harvick was barely challenged and even through a series of late restarts after caution flags he was able to pull away at the drop of the green flag and never looked back on his way to Victory Lane.

What Else Happened: Several drivers tried to employ a fuel strategy late in the race in hopes of stealing a win from the dominant Harvick. Logano and Earnhardt Jr. were two such drivers.

Earnhardt, already armed with a virtual guaranteed spot in the Chase after his Daytona win, was the most aggressive. Crew chief Steve Letarte preached for Earnhardt to stay on the charge and if fuel ran short on the No. 88 Chevrolet, so be it. Although Junior was able to have enough in the tank to make it to the end he was not able to muster a challenge for Harvick’s win.

Who Else had a Good Day: Pole-sitter Keselowski had his best career Phoenix finish in third..Logano led 74 laps on his way to his second career Phoenix top five performance...Gordon made a serious charge in the closing laps and was able to notch a fifth place finish, his best of the six races held on the new Phoenix configuration...Sixth place Johnson has 18 top-10 finishes in 22 career Phoenix starts.

Who had a Bad Day: Kurt Busch was good early in the race but eventually exited with a blown engine.His Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Danica Patrick was involved in a pair of incidents, the first a tangle with Justin Allgaier and Travis Kvapil. She later cut a tire and spun...Rookie Alex Bowman and Parker Kligerman suffered through frustrating afternoons finishing 41st and 42nd respectively.

Quote of the Day: “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions." - Kevin Harvick

Other Notables: Kasey Kahne fell behind early but rallied back for an 11th-place finish...Kyle Larson was the highest finishing rookie in 20th...Brian Vickers cut a tire and crashed into the wall under caution. He eventually finished 25th.

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