Kevin Harvick dominated at Phoenix International Raceway for the 10th Annual ‘The Profit on CNBC 500 presented by Small Business Fueling America,’ in his second points race of the 2014 season with a new race team for Stewart-Haas Racing, powered by Hendrick engines.
This is Harvick’s 24th victory in 468 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Leading a race high of 224 laps during the 312 scheduled for today’s race at Phoenix. Harvick also has had three other races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that he has led more than 200 laps during the race, making this the fourth. Harvick has five wins in 23 races at Phoenix International leading all drivers in victories at the track.
“This just solidifies so many things and so many decisions,” Harvick said in victory lane about his joining SHR after 13 seasons with team owner Richard Childress. “What a race car. This is Awesome.”
Harvick started 13th, made his way through the field with ease first he passed Brad Keselowski on the apron, then set the next Penske driver Joey Logano the race leader in his sights, again he dove low to take the lead on Lap 74. Harvick remained the leader coming off of green-flag pit stops.
With 4 cautions in the last 48 laps Harvick was able to pull away each time to earn his first win with SHR, a bonus on his 13th anniversary with his wife DeLana.
“We got running side by side there for second and just let Kevin (Harvick) get a little too far, I thought we was running him down those last few laps,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “But we were just too far away. We ended up where I thought we should finish. We were a little faster at the end, but they (Harvick and his crew) were stellar.”
With this weekend being the debut for NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system for the Sprint Cup series, Keselowski took the top spot with fellow Penske teammate Logano starting right alongside him on the front row.
Keselowski found out his crew chief Paul Wolfe would be absent for the race; as Wolfe left Phoenix to go back home to North Carolina for the birth of his first child.
Keselowski started from the pole and led the field to the green didn’t even lead the first lap as fellow Penske teammate Logano took early command of the race from the outside. Logano led for 70 laps before Harvick made his way to the front of the pack.
Keselowski ran near the front all day, with the team engineer Brian Wilson and Nationwide Series competition director Greg Erwin calling the shots, Keselowski finished third.
Logano, who finished fourth, said, “On the back of Kevin’s (Harvick) car it says ‘Freaky Fast’ and they weren’t lying, he is like Freaky Fast as he drove away from me.”
“He’s (Harvick) got something figured out here I went to school behind him a little and learned a little,” said Logano after the race. “But I didn’t have enough to beat him.”