Friday September 21st, 2018 6:11PM

Kevin Harvick triumphs at Phoenix for third straight win

By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

AVONDALE, Ariz. – As the old aphorism goes, there’s nothing certain except death and taxes.

After Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway, you can add Kevin Harvick at Phoenix to that list.

Harvick beat Kyle Busch to the finish line by .774 seconds to win his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series of the season, the first time a driver has strung three victories together since Busch accomplished the feat at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.

The victory was a record ninth for Harvick at the one-mile track in the Sonoran Desert and the 40th of his career, third-most among active drivers and tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin for 18th on the all-time victory list.

But the win was more than a statistical triumph for the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Harvick came to Phoenix with a chip on his shoulder, stung by a midweek penalty for issues with the roof braces and right rear side skirt extension after last week’s race-winning car from Las Vegas.

The infractions cost Harvick’s team the benefits of the victory in Sin City and deprived him of the services of car chief Robert “Cheddar” Smith. On the flip side, it lit a fire under the whole organization.

“I’ve been mad as all get-out because this team does a great job,” Harvick said. “This organization does a great job and we’ve got fast race cars."

“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," Harvick added.  "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.”

As Harvick indicated, it wasn’t the sort of thrashing he engineered at Atlanta and Las Vegas during the winning streak. He started 10th and didn’t lead a lap until he charged past Busch through turn 4 on lap 179. All told, Harvick led 38 laps, a distant third behind Busch’s 128 and Kyle Larson’s 54.

A mistake on his final green-flag pit stop cost Busch a chance to win the race. Harvick had come to pit road on lap 256. Four laps later Busch pitted from the lead, but the jack dropped prematurely on the left side of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, costing the 2015 series champion roughly three seconds.

Busch eventually cycled out into second place after passing third-place finisher Chase Elliott, but the pit road mistake left him too far behind Harvick. At one point in the closing laps, Busch cut Harvick’s advantage to a half-second as the drivers worked traffic, but he could get no closer.

“Coming into the green flag stops, had a couple guys pit a little bit before us,” Busch said. “I don’t think that hurt us too bad, but the jack dropping certainly did. We lost the race on pit road today. There’s been races where I’ve won it on pit road, too. We’ll just have to go into next week and see what we can do there.”

Denny Hamlin ran fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Aric Almirola, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Kurt Busch completed the top 10, as both Stewart-Haas and Joe Gibbs Racing put all four of their cars in the top 10—Stewart-Haas for the first time in the organization’s history.

Notes: Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron led his first laps in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after a two-tire pit stop on Lap 194. Byron stayed out front for 15 circuits before Hamlin passed him for the top spot on Lap 210 … Tucson native Alex Bowman finished one spot behind his Hendrick teammate in 13th, with Jimmie Johnson running 14th in the best collective finish for Hendrick Motorsports so far this year, led by Elliott in third.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
ISM Raceway – Avondale, AZ
TicketGuardian 500 – March 11, 2018

1. (10) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 312.
2. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 312.
3. (3) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 312.
4. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 312.
5. (1) Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota, 312.
6. (19) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 312.
7. (22) Aric Almirola, Ford, 312.
8. (15) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 312.
9. (9) Erik Jones, Toyota, 312.
10. (23) Kurt Busch, Ford, 312.
11. (13) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 312.
12. (11) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 312.
13. (4) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 312.
14. (17) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 312.
15. (25) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 312.
16. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 311.
17. (18) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 311.
18. (2) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 311.
19. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 311.
20. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 311.
21. (20) A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 311.
22. (16) David Ragan, Ford, 311.
23. (29) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ford, 311.
24. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 311.
25. (30) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 311.
26. (8) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 310.
27. (36) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 310.
28. (27) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Chevrolet, 309.
29. (24) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 309.
30. (28) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 309.
31. (34) * D.J. Kennington, Toyota, 309.
32. (31) Michael McDowell, Ford, 308.
33. (35) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 306.
34. (32) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 304.
35. (37) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 292.
36. (14) Paul Menard, Ford, Accident, 189.
37. (33) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Engine, 23.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 108.073 mph.

Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 53 Mins, 13 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.774 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 6 for 36 laps.

Lead Changes: 15 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: 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.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch 4 times for 128 laps; K. Larson 2 times for 54 laps; K. Harvick 2 times for 38 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 33 laps; R. Newman 1 time for 23 laps; W. Byron # 1 time for 15 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 12 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 6 laps; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,4,42,11,78,9,2,41,22,20

Stage #2 Top Ten: 41,2,17,18,34,13,4,78,95,14

Top 10 in Points: 1. Kevin Harvick – 168 (3 Wins); 2. Kyle Busch – 156; 3. Martin Truex, Jr. – 156; 4. Joey Logano – 152; 5. Ryan Blaney – 152; 6. Denny Hamlin – 137; 7. Brad Keselowski – 134; 8. Kyle Larson – 131; 9. Clint Bowyer – 125; 10. Aric Almirola – 123.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, Monster Cup
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Asphalt, Motorsports Live On WDUN, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Harvick makes it three straight with Phoenix win
Right now, there seems to be no stopping Kevin Harvick. Harvick took the lead for the final time with just a little over 20 laps to go in Sunday’s Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, Arizona.
6:45PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Brexton Busch has high-speed driving in his DNA
It’s in the genes—and it’s in the machines. Kyle Busch’s son Brexton is two months shy of his third birthday, and he’s already showing a precocious need for speed.
6:00AM ( 12 hours ago )
Soccer: Flowery Branch girls take out Buford; East Hall splits region matches
The second-ranked Flowery Branch girls soccer team kept rolling on Friday, taking out Buford 4-1 in Buford.
11:22PM ( 18 hours ago )
Sports
Wickens grabs St. Petersburg pole for IndyCar opener
The unpredictability of the Verizon IndyCar Series reached a new and exciting level in Verizon P1 Award qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, with rookie Robert Wickens...
6:51PM ( 1 day ago )
Ferrari fastest, Mercedes churns out miles as F1 tests end
Ferrari ended Formula One preseason testing with the fastest times, while Mercedes ran the most laps over the eight days at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
3:00PM ( 2 days ago )
NASCAR western swing continues with stop in Phoenix
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series embarks on the second leg of its three-race western swing with the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona...
6:00AM ( 2 days ago )
NASCAR News
Violent wreck wipes out Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott
Both Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott had been running in the top 10 for most of Sunday afternoon’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when Busch lost control of his...
8:00AM ( 6 days ago )
Harvick drives to another dominant victory in Las Vegas
If you thought last Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta was an aberration on old asphalt, think again. Kevin Harvick was every bit as dominant on the newer asphalt...
8:07PM ( 6 days ago )
It’s déjà vu for Ryan Blaney in the Las Vegas garage
Ryan Blaney did a double take. The No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, decked out in its traditional red, white and gold colors, drove past Blaney in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage.
6:00AM ( 1 week ago )
Monster Cup
Brexton Busch has high-speed driving in his DNA
It’s in the genes—and it’s in the machines. Kyle Busch’s son Brexton is two months shy of his third birthday, and he’s already showing a precocious need for speed.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
6:00AM ( 12 hours ago )
Around The Track Results and Points Standings Page
The latest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series race results.
By AccessWDUN
10:12PM ( 19 hours ago )
Keselowski overcomes speeding penalty for Phoenix win
Neither a speeding penalty nor uncharacteristic rain in the Sonoran Desert could keep Brad Keselowski out of victory lane on Saturday at ISM Raceway.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
10:08PM ( 19 hours ago )
Wallace, Jr. searches for speed after disappointing run
After a spectacular runner-up finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, Darrell Wallace, Jr. and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team have struggled to maintain that level of performance.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
6:00AM ( 1 day ago )
Strong final round puts Truex, Jr. on pole in Phoenix
Defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex, Jr. finally found the extra speed he needed at ISM Raceway. Saving his best lap for the final round of knockout qualifying...
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
9:36PM ( 1 day ago )