Kevin Harvick scored his third consecutive win of the season when he took the checkered flag in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway.
Harvick came back from a severe penalty his team was handed by NASCAR for a rear window brace infraction at Las Vegas to score his 40th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win. See Also: SHR Will Not Appeal Penalty
He is the first driver age 40 or older to win three consecutive races since Harry Gant won four in Sept. 1991 at age 51. Harvick is also the first driver to win three Cup races in a row since Joey Logano won three consecutive races in 2015. It was Harvick’s ninth career Cup win at Phoenix and his sixth in the last 10 races at the Arizona track.
“I’ve been mad as all get-out because this team does a great job and this organization does a great job and we’ve got fast race cars and to take that away from those guys just really pissed me off last week,” Harvick said.
“You know, to come here at a race track that is so good for us, is a lot of fun. Everybody was just determined this week. We just wanted to stomp them. We didn’t stomp them but we won and that’s really all that matters. I’m just proud of this team. It put a fire in our belly. Whooo! I’m excited.”
Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.
“It’s starting to get frustrating,” said second-place finisher Busch (Read More).
Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Kurt Busch completed the first ten finishers.
Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch won the day’s first two stages.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Auto Club Speedway next Sunday afternoon.
How Harvick Won: When he got by Chase Elliott for what at the time was fourth place, that turned out to be the winning move for Harvick. Pit stops cycled around the hope of Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski to somehow stretch their final fuel load to an upset victory evaporated and Harvick inherited the top spot when they eventually hit pit road. From there it was full steam ahead and on to a third straight win.
Who Had a Good Day: Busch finished second again to Harvick two weeks in a row…Elliott scored the first top five finish by a Hendrick Motorsports car in 2018 and Elliott has finished top 10 in four of his five starts at ISM (Read More)…Hamlin has finished in the top-five in three of the four races in 2018…Truex Jr. has finished in the top five two straight races at ISM for the first time in his career (Read More).
Who Had a Bad Day: Paul Menard saw his solid start to the season come to an end when it appeared something broke on his Wood Brothers Racing Ford to send him spinning around to make hard contact with the wall…Michael McDowell suffered mechanical issues for a second straight week…Bubba Wallace had two pit stops with problems getting all five lug nuts fastened.
What Else Happened: The typically fast-paced nature of racing at ISM Raceway meant drivers could not wait to get to the front. But there were some very long green flag runs on Sunday, which meant fuel strategy was definitely in play. Some tried it at the end including Keselowski and Newman but ultimately unlike last year, when Newman was able to get the win with calculations, it came down to the best car winning. Far and away that car belonged to Harvick.
Quotable: “Whooo – we’re stage winners. Whooo – we’re starting 25th now (after a subsequent pit stop),” Kurt Busch after the second stage.
Notable: All four Stewart-Haas Racing cars finished in the top 10 for the first time ever…All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars finished in the top 10…All four Hendrick Motorsports cars finished in the top 15…It was the first race in 2018 that a Team Penske car failed to finish in the top five.