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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick puts on another dominant performance at Las Vegas

CHARLOTTE, NC – JANUARY 24: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series driver Kevin Harvick poses for a photo during the NASCAR Media Tour at Charlotte Convention Center on January 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


After Kevin Harvick dominated an won at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 25, he provided more of the same at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday, leading 214 laps and winning the 267-lap Pennzoil 400. It was his second win in the first three races of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

“We have definitely had three good race cars with the Xfinity car and the Cup car, and we had a good race car at Daytona as well and got caught up in a wreck,” Harvick said, also mentioning his NASCAR Xfinity Series win after a dominating performance at Atlanta. “As you look at the last two weeks and our 1.5-mile program in general, it has been really good since I started here at SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing). They put a lot of effort into everything we do from every standpoint to get these cars going like they are. I have to thank everyone from Stewart-Haas Racing, Gene (Haas) and Tony (Stewart, team co-owners); it is fun to have them here when we win. Everybody who helps put this thing on the race track, we couldn’t do it without them, and the fans for coming out to the racetrack today, we really appreciate you all coming out. It is always fun for me to win on the West Coast, and I didn’t have a lot of luck here until I came to SHR. It is great to win on the West Coast for me.”

Kyle Busch was closing on Harvick in the final laps but wound up second at the finish. Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five.

“I don’t know about catching the Ford (of Harvick),” Larson said. “He was quite a bit faster than everybody, but I felt like, for the most of the day, we were second or third best. I had to fight pretty hard, there, after a few bad pit stops, but it’s nice that we have really fast race cars. If we can just clean up everything, I think we’ll be a contender for more wins. We’re not too far off from a win, I don’t think. We’ve just got to keep working hard and keep fighting to get our Credit One Bank Chevy into victory lane.”

After Blaney started on the pole and led the first lap, Harvick took the lead on lap two and drove on to win both of the two 80-lap stages that made up the first 160 laps of the race. At lap 160, Harvick had led all but 16 laps to that point, with most of the laps he didn’t lead coming during two cycles of green-flag pit stops that came around the halfway point of each of the first two stages.

Harvick was beaten off pit road by Logano, Busch and Blaney during the caution to start the final 107-lap stage of the race in fourth position.

“We had some trouble getting through traffic, there,” Harvick said. “That was our worst run as far as where the car was. I don’t know if it was just the car, tire set, handling, whatever it was. We were just stuck in traffic and needed to come make an adjustment. We got everything situated on pit road and got a good restart. It was definitely not as good in traffic but when it was out front, it was on time.”

The yellow flag waved twice for on-track incidents, with both of those incidents coming early in the third stage — the first when Jamie McMurray got into the wall because of a flat right-front tire on lap 175 and the second when Kurt Busch lost control and collected Chase Elliott on lap 183.

“I was running the low groove, and it just stepped out on me,” Busch said. “I wasn’t even trying to fill the hole or go 100 percent. I had it at 90 percent, and I knew Chase was going to be on my outside, and it was just that quick. We were back there in the dirty air, but turn four, I always know it is slick and I wasn’t even pushing through there, and it stepped out on me. Ruined his day, ruined my day. I hate it for all the Chase Elliott fans and the Kurt Busch fans and my hometown fans. I wasn’t even pushing hard. I knew we had one more stop, and then, we were going to go. It just stepped out on me. It is ridiculous.”

Truex stayed out during the first of those two cautions, and Joey Logano was first off pit road after taking only two tires. Truex fell to sixth during the brief green-flag run between the two cautions before pitting during the final yellow.

Harvick was up to second by the final restart of the race with 73 laps to go. He then took the lead as soon as the race returned to green.

A third and final green-flag cycle of pit stops began with about 50 laps remaining. When Truex and Kyle Busch finally pitted with 37 laps to go, Harvick was back up front. On slightly newer tires, Busch quickly raced back toward the front and was up to second by 20 laps remaining, but he was a distant second to Harvick.

Only nine cars finished on the lead lap. Finishing sixth through ninth on the lead lap were Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Erik Jones and Paul Menard. Aric Almirola rounded out the top-10, one lap down.

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Posted by on March 5, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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