Kevin Harvick won the Campingworld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway Sunday in a dominating performance for Chevrolet. All top five positions were occupied by Chevy drivers as the checkered flag flew on the caution-filled 312-lap race Sunday, making it the most successful race for the bowtie brand so far this year .
Harvick’s win was predicted by NASCAR experts before the green flag had flown on Sunday afternoon. The win marks the Stewart-Haas racing driver’s second in a row this season and the fifth time in sixth starts he’s won at Phoenix. He first took the lead early on after stealing it from pole-sitter Joey Logano, who once again was one of his main rivals throughout the day.
Many drivers challenged Harvick as he held the lead, and the competition became even fiercer as the caution flags were put out later in the race. Tony Stewart was bumped into the wall with 76 laps to go and again ran into the wall with 24 laps to go, putting out two cautions. Then, teammate Danica Patrick was forced into the wall with 17 laps left in the race. This forced the pack closer to Harvick for restarts, but he managed to fight them off for the win.
“The restarts were just really slippery and I learned that in the race yesterday,” Harvick said, referencing the Xfinity Series race.”You had to really maintain your entrance speed and really slide the thing through the center of the corner to try to help keep it pointed up off. But I just want to thank the fans. This is a really special place of all these West Coast race for us to win. I want to thank everybody who helps us on this car and everybody at SHR for uh, man. These things are incredible and really fun to drive.”
In behind Harvick was Jamie McMurray, a consistently fast driver all weekend and one of the few drivers on the grid that looked like he had a shot at catching Harvick. Coming in third was Ryan Newman, his second consecutive podium of what is so far proving to be a strong season. Rounding out the top five positions weere Hendrick Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch, who returned from a three-week suspension.
Not all Chevrolet drivers were as lucky as Sunday’s top three. Jeff Gordon’s streak of bad luck continued as he struggled all day with the 24 car, however he was able to turn up a respectable 9th. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s day was ruined when he suffered a right-rear tire failure and hit the wall, putting him out of the race.
Harvick, who won at Auto Club in 2011 and has five top-10s at the track since 2009, is hoping for his third-straight win at Fontana next week in order to complete his sweep of the West Coast. The green flag will fly for the Auto Club 400 on March 22 at 3:30 p.m.