Harvick on Fire! Wins MENC Race at Las Vegas in Dominating Fashion

Credit - Brian Lawdermilk, Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NV – RIS – Kevin Harvick continues to dominate the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series in almost easy fashion.  With the win, Harvick earns his 39th Cup checkered flag and becomes the fourth driver in NASCAR history to win 100 races in the top three series. He joins Richard Petty (200 Cup wins), Kyle Busch (183 wins over three series) and David Pearson (106 in Cup and Xfinity). Harvick now also has the most wins of any driver for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Harvick led 214 of the 267 laps.  The Fords of Harvick, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, and Ryan Blaney led a total of 251 laps.  Toyota was second with 10 laps led by Kyle Busch.  No Chevrolet driver was credited with leading a lap.

Harvick did it by going to victory lane for the second straight race, the first being last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the same dominating fashion.

Harvick showed some early strength in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, winning the first stage in the race.  Then, he went on to win the second stage and take the checkered flag for the win. 

Martin Truex Jr., the defending winner of the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube , finished second in the first stage in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota. Kyle Larson came home third at the end of Stage 1, with pole-starter Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano completing the top five.

Blaney led just the first lap from the pole position. McDowell led the other 11 laps in the stage, his Front Row Motorsports team opting for an alternate pit strategy in the middle of the segment. Harvick's domination Sunday comes one week after he led 173 of 325 laps during his win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 Busch chased Harvick over the closing laps but trimmed his deficit only slightly.

“I don't think we could have made much ground by changing anything much,” Busch said. “It was just pure speed (by Harvick). Whether it's under the hood or whether it's aerodynamics or whatever it is, they've obviously got it going on right now.”

And it could continue. Next week’s race is at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, a track where Harvick has won eight times.

“I know how hard it is to get to victory lane, and to know we have been there 100 times is something I almost can’t fathom,” Harvick said.

Kyle Larson came home third followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney, who started from the pole. 

There were only four cautions during the race—two ending the stages, one for Jamie McMurray’s crash at Lap 177, and finally a crash involving Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott at Lap 184. 

“I went low and the car just came around on me, “Busch said.  “I feel bad for all the No. 9 fans and No. 41 fans.”

It was another bad day for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.  Jesse Saunders, car chief for driver Jimmie Johnson, was ejected from the garage after the No. 48 Chevrolet failed pre-race inspection three times. Johnson has had a slow start this season and began Sunday’s race 35th in driver points. He was lapped early in Sunday’s race, and finished 12th, one lap down.

As previously mentioned, the drivers and crews of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup cars head to Avondale, Arizona next week.  The trips to the desert has meant eight wins for Harvick over the years.

Unofficial Race Results for the 21St Annual Pennzoil 400 Presented By Jiffy Lube - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Sunday, March 4, 2018

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status, Tms Led, Laps Led
1) 2, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford, 267, 1, 1, 7, 60, Running, 5, 214
2) 13, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, 267, 9, 5, , 43, Running, 2, 10
3) 5, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 267, 3, 3, , 50, Running, , 
4) 4, Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, 267, 2, 7, , 46, Running, 1, 6
5) 1, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford, 267, 4, 2, , 48, Running, 1, 1
6) 8, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 267, 6, 6, , 41, Running, , 
7) 10, Joey Logano, No. 22 Pennzoil Ford, 267, 5, 4, , 43, Running, 2, 25
8) 9, Erik Jones, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota, 267, , , , 29, Running, , 
9) 12, Paul Menard, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, 267, 10, 10, , 30, Running, , 
10) 29, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, 266, , , , 27, Running, , 
11) 25, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, 266, , , , 26, Running, , 
12) 14, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet, 266, , , , 25, Running, , 
13) 16, Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow SILASTIC Silicone Elastomers Chevrolet, 266, , , , 24, Running, , 
14) 7, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 265, , , , 23, Running, , 
15) 28, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Natural Light Chevrolet, 265, , , , 22, Running, , 
16) 20, Alex Bowman, No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 265, , , , 21, Running, , 
17) 19, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota, 265, , , , 20, Running, , 
18) 11, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 One Cure Ford, 265, , , , 19, Running, , 
19) 21, Kasey Kahne, No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet, 264, , , , 18, Running, , 
20) 24, Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford Ford, 264, , , , 17, Running, , 
21) 26, Darrell Wallace Jr. #, No. 43 The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Chevrolet, 264, , , , 16, Running, , 
22) 32, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Can-Am/Wholey Ford, 264, , , , 15, Running, , 
23) 23, David Ragan, No. 38 Speedco Ford, 264, , , , 14, Running, , 
24) 31, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 264, , , , 13, Running, , 
25) 30, Cole Custer(i), No. 51 Haas Automation Ford, 264, , , , 0, Running, , 
26) 18, Daniel Suarez, No. 19 Coca-Cola Toyota, 263, , , , 11, Running, , 
27) 17, William Byron #, No. 24 AXALTA Chevrolet, 263, , , , 10, Running, , 
28) 34, Cole Whitt, No. 72  Chevrolet, 262, , , , 9, Running, , 
29) 33, Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 LowT Center Chevrolet, 262, , , , 0, Running, , 
30) 27, AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 262, , , , 7, Running, , 
31) 36, Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 00 VRX Simulators Chevrolet, 255, , , , 6, Running, , 
32) 37, * Joey Gase(i), No. 55 Nevada Donor Network Chevrolet, 253, , , , 0, Running, , 
33) 35, Gray Gaulding, No. 23 Earthwater Toyota, 195, , , , 4, Engine, , 
34) 6, Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 183, 8, 9, , 8, Accident, , 
35) 3, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Ford, 183, 7, 8, , 9, Accident, , 
36) 22, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Cessna/DC Solar Chevrolet, 176, , , , 1, Accident, , 
37) 15, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 100, , , , 1, Engine, 1, 11
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (*) non-franchise team

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 49 Mins, 31 Secs.
Total Race Length - 267 Laps - 400.5 Miles
Average Speed: 141.756 MPH
Margin of Victory: 2.906 Seconds
Race Comments: Kevin Harvick won the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his 39th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Prior to the start of the race, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for reasons indicated: No. 15, 48 (multiple inspection failures).
Caution Flags: 4 for 29 laps: Laps: 82-88 (Stage 1 Conclusion [3]); 162-166 (Stage 2 Conclusion [3]); 177-182 (No. 1 Incident Backstretch [31]); 184-194 (No. 9, 41 Incident Frontstretch [48]).
Lead Changes: 11 among 6 drivers: R. Blaney 1; K. Harvick 2-38; M. McDowell 39-49; K. Harvick 50-121; Kyle Busch 122-125; K. Harvick 126-163; J. Logano 164-176; M. Truex Jr. 177-182; J. Logano 183-194; K. Harvick 195-224; Kyle Busch 225-230; K. Harvick 231-267.
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award:  Kevin Harvick, No. 4 
Fastest Lap:  Kevin Harvick,No. 4 
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race:  Roush-Yates Engines, No. 4 
Moog Go the Extra Mile:  Kyle Busch, No. 18 0.049 secs
Sunoco Rookie of the Race:  Darrell Wallace Jr, No. 43

   

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 3, Posted 8:10 PM, 03.04.2018