There Was No Denying Kevin Harvick in Phoenix

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

There are some days where a driver dominates and then there are some when a driver annihilates the field. Kevin Harvick had a stellar day in the desert on Sunday. Once he got out front early in the event, he didn’t look back for a second. He was able to control the race and at the end of the day, that put him in victory lane for the third time in the last four Phoenix races. His sponsor Jimmy John’s has the catch phrase “freaky-fast” which describes their service, but in this race it was describing the man behind the wheel.

It was Joey Logano leading the race early when he got out front on Lap 1 and led for a majority of the first 100 laps. Harvick was the only driver able to pass Logano as the No.4 car made it to the lead for the first time on Lap 74.

While Stewart-Haas Racing had Harvick dominating, a few of their other drivers suffered issues throughout the race. Danica Patrick was caught up in a three car wreck on Lap 171. She suffered enough damage to keep her No.10 machine behind for the rest of the race.

Kurt Busch’s day took a turn for the worse when he went down a cylinder in the second half of the event. That eventually led to Busch blowing his motor with only 16 laps to go.

Busch’s problem brought out one of the multiple late-race cautions which continued to stack the field up and made for some wild restarts. Harvick maintained the lead through the chaos and held off a hard-charging Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps.

Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave Harvick the most trouble on the final restart when he was able to keep up with Harvick at first, but eventually lost ground. Earnhardt Jr. did come home with a second place finish though, putting his season off to a great start.

Once Harvick got a big enough lead, he was able to cruise to the finish in the final laps. With the victory, Harvick has one win towards the Chase which will more than likely earn him a spot in the playoffs. “This (win) solidifies so many things” Harvick said in victory lane. With a victory under his belt, Harvick does not have to worry about making the Chase, so the No.4 team’s approach changes from needing to win to just competing hard for one week after week.

Next week’s race at Las Vegas provides opportunity for possibly a third different winner this season. If another driver takes victory, they will join Earnhardt Jr. and Harvick as locks for the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

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Results via ESPN.com

POS DRIVER CAR MANUFACTURER LAPS MONEY START LED PTS BONUS PENALTY
1 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 312   13 224 48 5 0
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 312   5 0 42 0 0
3 Brad Keselowski Ford 312   1 3 42 1 0
4 Joey Logano Ford 312   2 71 41 1 0
5 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 312   17 4 40 1 0
6 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 312   4 0 38 0 0
7 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 312   15 6 38 1 0
8 Carl Edwards Ford 312   23 1 37 1 0
9 Kyle Busch Toyota 312   7 0 35 0 0
10 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 312   3 0 34 0 0
11 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 312   11 0 33 0 0
12 Matt Kenseth Toyota 312   19 0 32 0 0
13 Clint Bowyer Toyota 312   14 1 32 1 0
14 Casey Mears Chevrolet 312   18 0 30 0 0
15 Aric Almirola Ford 312   9 0 29 0 0
16 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 312   20 0 28 0 0
17 Greg Biffle Ford 312   6 0 27 0 0
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 312   21 0 26 0 0
19 Denny Hamlin Toyota 312   12 0 25 0 0
20 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 312   8 0 24 0 0
21 Marcos Ambrose Ford 311   29 0 23 0 0
22 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 311   27 0 22 0 0
23 Paul Menard Chevrolet 311   22 0 21 0 0
24 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 311   24 0 20 0 0
25 Brian Vickers Toyota 311   16 0 19 0 0
26 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 310   25 0 18 0 0
27 Cole Whitt Toyota 310   31 0 17 0 0
28 David Ragan Ford 310   30 0 16 0 0
29 David Gilliland Ford 309   28 2 16 1 0
30 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 309   43 0 14 0 0
31 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 308   39 0 13 0 0
32 Brian Scott Chevrolet 308   32 0 0 0 0
33 Michael McDowell Ford 307   26 0 11 0 0
34 Michael Annett Chevrolet 307   41 0 10 0 0
35 Ryan Truex Toyota 307   34 0 9 0 0
36 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 306   33 0 8 0 0
37 Blake Koch Ford 306   37 0 0 0 0
38 Travis Kvapil Ford 302   40 0 6 0 0
39 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 292   10 0 5 0 0
40 Joe Nemechek Toyota 292   38 0 0 0 0
41 Alex Bowman Toyota 230   35 0 3 0 0
42 Parker Kligerman Toyota 226   36 0 2 0 0
43 Morgan Shepherd Toyota 28   42 0 0 0 0

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