Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kevin Harvick Dominates at Phoenix

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Kevin Harvick won the 500 on Sunday for his fourth consecutive victory at Phoenix International Speedway.
Photo courtesy Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Harvick’s victory was his seventh-straight finish of first or second, the first driver to match those numbers since Richard Petty did it in 1975.  Harvick’s consistency has squashed any talk of a championship hangover for the No. 4 team.

“It’s almost scary how well things are going,” Harvick said in victory lane.  “I think when you look at the start of this year, we just know each other so much better.  We have a lot of things different than what we had last year.”

Harvick, following his win last weekend at Las Vegas, was a favorite heading into the weekend that saw the driver race on one of his best tracks.  He said racing in the XFinity Series race on Saturday helped set up his good run Sunday.

“The restarts were just really slippery, and I learned that in the race yesterday,” Harvick said.  “You had to really maintain your entrance speed and really slide the thing through the center of the corner to try to keep it pointed off.”

The race also saw the return of Harvick’s teammate Kurt Busch, who was reinstated by NASCAR on Wednesday following a three-week suspension for a domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend.

Busch finished fifth on Sunday, and said the finish was a testament to the strength of his team.

“Personally it’s great to get back to them and produce a result like this on our first day back,” Busch said.  “To run up there, to almost lead a lap…the way that we raced today was with heart.  I think there could have been enough good will in the tank to bring home a win, but Kevin’s tough.”

Unofficial results:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Jamie McMurray
3. Ryan Newman
4. Kasey Kahne
5. Kurt Busch
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Joey Logano
9. Jeff Gordon
10. Kyle Larson
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
13. Carl Edwards
14. Paul Menard
15. Austin Dillon
16. Matt Kenseth
17. AJ Allmendinger
18. Justin Allgaier
19. Aric Almirola
20. Casey Mears
21. David Ragan
22. Landon Cassill
23. Denny Hamlin
24. Clint Bowyer
25. Cole Whitt
26. Danica Patrick
27. Greg Biffle
28. Trevor Bayne
29. David Gilliland
30. Alex Bowman
31. J.J. Yeley
32. Brett Moffitt
33. Mike Bliss
34. Jeb Burton
35. Matt DiBenedetto
36. Josh Wise
37. Brendan Gaughan
38. Alex Kennedy
39. Tony Stewart
40. Sam Hornish Jr.
41. Brian Vickers
42. Michael Annett
43. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Photo courtesy Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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