Harvick Wins Third Straight Cup Race at Phoenix

Credit: Getty Images

AVONDALE, AZ – RIS – Kevin Harvick was mad.  A part failure made part of this rear window on his Ford droop in last week’s dominating win at Las Vegas.  Initial post-race inspection came with no penalties from NASCAR, but social media posts led to a suspension of his car chief, a huge fine for his crew chief, and a deduction of points earned.  Happy Harvick wasn’t happy and he made the rest of the field at ISM Speedway pay.  His win wasn’t as dominating as the last two, but it was sweet victory for his team and Stewart Haas Racing.

“I’ve pissed, is what I’ve been. I’ve been mad as all get out. This team does a great job, 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. “And to take that away from those guys just really pissed me off last week. To come here to a race track that is so good for us is a lot of fun and everyone was just determined this week and we just wanted to just go stomp them. We didn't stomp them, but we won. That's all that really matters. Just proud of this team. Put a fire in our belly. I’ve just got to thank everyone at Jimmy John's, Busch, Ford, Mobile 1, Outback, Hunt Brothers, Morton Buildings, Textron, Liftmaster, Haas Automation. I always forget the owners. Gene Haas and and Tony Stewart. What a badass team right there!"

It was Harvick’s third consecutive win in a season that spans four races.  When Harvick piloted his No. 4 Ford out of the fourth turn and took the checkered flag, it was for the ninth time in his career at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. With the victory, Harvick becomes the ninth driver in NASCAR history to win nine or more times at a single track and the first to win three straight since Joey Logano in 2015.

Harvick took the lead for good with 22 laps remaining in the Ticket Guardian 500, emerging as the victor in a fierce late-race battle among Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. It was Harvick’s 40th Monster Energy Series win of his career.

Busch finished second in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and led a race-high 128 laps.

Chase Elliott was third in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, while Denny Hamlin and pole-starter Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

Despite Harvick’s longstanding dominance in the desert — he won six of eight races from 2012-16 — he had not won at Phoenix since March 13, 2016.

Harvick started in the 10th position but had recorded the fastest lap in the final practice, and moved methodically through the field until his car was firmly in the top five.  From there, he stayed close the front the entire race.  With 46 laps to go, Harvick and many of the leaders pitted for fuel and tires, and Ryan Newman and others stayed on the track, putting Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Elliott back in the field.  With 22 laps to go, Newman pitted and a second-running Harvick took the lead and was never passed. 

Before doing his burnout, Harvick got out of his car and hit his rear windshield in front of the grandstands and pointed to it several times.

Still in the west coast swing, the drivers and teams will be headed to Fontana, California and Auto Club Speedway and the 2-mile speedway there.

Unofficial Race Results for the 14Th Annual Ticketguardian 500 - Sunday, March 1 1, 2018, ISM Raceway - Avondale, AZ

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Playoff pts, Tms Led, Laps Led, Pts, Status
1) 10, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford, 312, 2, 7, 5, 2, 38, 53, Running
2) 7, Kyle Busch, No. 18 Skittles Sweet Heat Toyota, 312, 1, 4, 1, 4, 128, 52, Running
3) 3, Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 312, 6, , , , , 39, Running
4) 6, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 312, 4, , , 1, 33, 40, Running
5) 1, Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 5-hour Energy/Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 312, 5, 8, , 1, 3, 41, Running
6) 19, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Haas Automation Ford, 312, , 10, , , , 32, Running
7) 22, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, 312, , , , , , 30, Running
8) 15, Daniel Suarez, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, 312, , , , , , 29, Running
9) 9, Erik Jones, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota, 312, 10, , , , , 29, Running
10) 23, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Mobil 1/Haas Automation Ford, 312, 8, 1, 1, 1, 6, 40, Running
11) 13, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet, 312, , , , 1, 23, 26, Running
12) 11, William Byron #, No. 24 A)(ALTA Chevrolet, 312, , , , 1, 15, 25, Running
13) 4, Alex Bowman, No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 312, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 17, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet, 312, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 25, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford, 312, 7, 2, , 2, 12, 35, Running
16) 12, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 DeVi|biss Ford, 311, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 18, Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Chevrolet, 311, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 2, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 311, 3, , , 2, 54, 27, Running
19) 5, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 311, 9, , , , , 20, Running
20) 21, Trevor Bayne, No. 6 AdvoCare Ford, 311, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 20, AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger C|ickList Chevrolet, 311, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 16, David Ragan, No. 38 MDS Transport Ford, 311, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 29, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 311, , 3, , , , 22, Running
24) 26, Kasey Kahne, No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet, 311, , 9, , , , 15, Running
25) 30, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Zynga Poker Ford, 311, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 8, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet, 310, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 36, Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 LowT Center Chevrolet, 310, , , , , , 0, Running
28) 27, Darrell Wallace Jr. #, No. 43 Click n' Close Chevrolet, 309, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 24, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Scott Towels Chevrolet, 309, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 28, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 309, , 6, , , , 12, Running
31) 34, DJ Kennington, No. 96* Northern Provincial Pipe/Wilride Transport Toyota, 309, , , , , , 6, Running
32) 31, Michael McDowell, No. 34 K-Love Radio Ford, 308, , 5, , , , 11, Running
33) 35, Timmy Hi||(i), No. 51 RWR Chevrolet, 306, , , , , , 0, Running
34) 32, Gray Gaulding, No. 23 Earthwater Toyota, 304, , , , , , 3, Running
35) 37, Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 00 VRX Simulators Chevrolet, 292, , , , , , 2, Running
36) 14, Paul Menard, No. 21 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford, 189, , , , , , 1, Accident
37) 33, Corey LaJoie, No. 72 Schluter-Systems Chevrolet, 23, , , , , , 1, Engine

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie
Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 53 Mins, 13 Secs.
Total Race Length - 312 Laps - 312 Miles
Average Speed: 108.073 MPH
Margin of Victory: 0.774 Seconds
Race Comments: Kevin Harvick won the 14th Annual TicketGuardian 500, his 40th victory in 614 Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series races.
Prior to the start of the race, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field for the reason indicated: No. 00, 17 (backup cars),96 (unapproved tire change)
Caution Flags: 6 for 36 laps: Laps: 26-33 (Fluid on backstretch from #72 (Competition Caution) [51]); 77-83 (Stage 1 Conclusion [15]); 123-126 (#42 Incident in Turn 4 [95]);147-149 (#37 Incident in Turn 4 [None]); 152-158 (Stage 2 Conclusion [43]); 192-198 (#21 Incident in Turn 2 [96]).
Lead Changes: 15 among 9 drivers: M. Truex Jr. 0; K. Larson 1-30; M. Truex Jr. 31-33; K. Larson 34-57; Kyle Busch 58-123; B. Keselowski 124-128; Kyle Busch 129-147;Kurt Busch 148-153; Kyle Busch 154-178; K. Harvick 179-194; W. Byron # 195-209; D. Hamlin 210-242; Kyle Busch 243-260; B. Keselowski 261-267; R.Newman 268-290; K. Harvick 291-312.
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kyle Busch, No. 18
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: Toyota Racing Development (TRD), No. 18
Sunoco Rookie of the Race: William Byron, No. 24
Fastest Lap: Kyle Larson, No. 42
Moog Go the Extra Mile: Clint Bowyer, No. 14 crew chief Mike Bugarewicz

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 8:59 PM, 03.11.2018