Kevin Harvick makes it two in a row with Las Vegas NASCAR win

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Kevin Harvick made profitable two NASCAR Cup races in a row look simple with a commanding win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver led 209 of 267 laps as he swept all three phases and held off hometown hero Kyle Busch to take the checkered flag.

It was Harvick’s second win on the observe in 4 years and his 100th profession victory throughout NASCAR’s high three collection.

Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup series auto race Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Harvick’s two wins places him first within the NASCAR season standings.

 (AP)

“These final two weeks, we have simply hit on all the pieces we wanted to,” Harvick mentioned. “My (crew has) performed their homework on numerous issues. Simply actually pleased with all people.”

Busch bought near his second profession victory in his hometown together with his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, however could not overcome the dominant chief. Kyle Larson completed third after profitable the Xfinity Collection race on Saturday, whereas defending champion Martin Truex Jr. was in fourth and pole-sitter Ryan Blaney in fifth.

Harvick has already matched his Cup win complete from final season in three races — and he is headed to Phoenix, the place he has received 5 occasions since 2012.

Solely Richard Petty, Kyle Busch and David Pearson have received extra races throughout the three nationwide circuits than Harvick, the 42-year-old Californian.

“Profitable 100 races is one thing that I by no means thought I might do,” Harvick mentioned. “They’re arduous to win, and I have been lucky to sit down in plenty of good race automobiles.”

Not many wins are extra emphatic than Harvick’s 100th.

Harvick led 144 of the primary 160 laps and comfortably received the primary two phases. He was fourth out of the end-of-stage warning after Stage 2, with Joey Logano getting in entrance with an distinctive pit cease.

However Harvick reclaimed the lead off one other restart with 73 laps to go after Kurt Busch wrecked together with Chase Elliott. Harvick emerged from his final pit cease with a three-second lead on Brad Keselowski, and Busch could not catch up.

Harvick was much more dominant in Vegas than Truex final yr. Truex led all three phases and 150 laps final yr on his strategy to a victory that propelled him into his championship season.

Listed below are extra issues to know in regards to the race on the Strip:

DOING RECON: For the primary time, NASCAR is returning to Vegas within the fall for a second race, which will even be the playoff opener. Groups used this journey to collect knowledge and data for the return journey in September, though the temperature might simply be 50 levels greater than the balmy 53 levels at Sunday’s race. “The changes we made as we speak are going to assist in the autumn,” Kyle Busch mentioned. “(Though) I feel the observe goes to be quite a bit slower with the warmth.”

KUBU CAN’T DO: Kurt Busch’s career-long victory drought in his hometown continues. Busch misplaced management and ran Elliott into the wall shortly after a restart early within the remaining stage. The crash necessitated a protracted warning for fluid cleanup. The 39-year-old Busch has by no means received at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which was constructed whereas he grew up on the town. Kurt Busch didn’t win the Cup race in Vegas for the 17th time. He has began on the pole twice, however has just one top-five end right here regardless of calling it a high precedence in his profession.

THREE STRIKES: The automobile chiefs for Jimmie Johnson and Ross Chastain had been ejected after their automobiles failed inspection 3 times throughout the pre-race checks. Johnson needed to begin on the again after his chief, Jesse Saunders, bought the gate. Johnson additionally can have observe time taken away subsequent week in Phoenix. The seven-time champion nonetheless rallied to complete 12th.

COMEBACK STORY: Josh Frankos, the tire-changer on Darrell Wallace Jr.’s Richard Petty Motorsports crew, injured his hand whereas making ready for the Vegas race and was despatched to a hospital on Sunday morning. Michael Hubert stuffed in for him on pit street. The harm could not hold Frankos down, nevertheless: He returned to the observe for the race.

The Related Press contributed to this report

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