Harvick nips Edwards in wild finish
AVONDALE, ARIZ. >> Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards twice bumped on the final lap before Harvick inched over the finish line first in an overtime finish Sunday for his record eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Phoenix International Raceway.
Harvick had the lead on the restart finish before the charging Edwards made it a side-by-side duel. After the cars banged a second time, Harvick nosed to the line 0.010 seconds ahead to continue his dominance at the mile oval. It's the same margin of victory as Denny Hamlin's thrilling win last month in the Daytona 500.
Harvick made up for qualifying 18th by shooting toward the front early in the race. His took the lead for good in the No. 4 Chevrolet when he immediately passed Edwards on a restart with 77 laps to go.
Harvick built a lead approaching 3 seconds before Kasey Kahne hit the wall with six laps left to bring out the caution. Harvick had enough fuel for the extra two laps —— and just barely enough to hold off Edwards.
It gave NASCAR another thrilling finish with its new downforce and aerodynamic packages. Used for the first time on a mile-track, the package helped produce plenty of passing and only a handful of tire issues after long green-flag runs.
Harvick and Edwards each showed off their driving skills as the cars banged and wobbled through the final turn.
Denny Hamlin recovered from an early pit penalty to finish third. Kyle Busch started from the pole and led the first 77 laps before ending up fourth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, who ended Harvick's four-race winning streak at Phoenix with a rain-shortened victory in November, was fifth.
Two days after a scary crash in which he pulled off his steering wheel in qualifying, Jimmie Johnson finished 11th.
Harvick has won five of the past six races and six of eight at Phoenix.
STEERING WHEEL: Drivers crowded around Johnson backstage before the pre-race introductions as he visually explained how his steering wheel came off before a scary wreck in Friday qualifying.
Johnson was unhurt. Starting 38th in a backup car, Johnson spent most of the race near the front.
NO REPEAT: Brad Keselowski, who won last week at Las Vegas, was running 10th when his right rear tire blew to end his chances. He finished 29th.
THAT'S HOT: Richard Childress Racing drivers Ryan Newman hit the wall in the third turn on the 53rd lap. Teammate Paul Menard did the same 54 laps later. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wrecked after that. Braking issues leading to melted tire beads caused all three crashes, according to Goodyear.
STEWART'S SUB: Ty Dillon, filling in for the injured Tony Stewart, finished 15th in his second race in the No. 14.
DANICA UPDATE: Danica Patrick never threatened, but her 19th-place finish was her best of the season.
D'OH: Before telling drivers to start their engines, executive Mark Boggess of race sponsor Good Sam told the crowd, "You got an extra night's sleep last night." He meant extra hour's sleep. Only people actually lost an hour's sleep — except not in the Valley of the Sun. The area doesn't change clocks for daylight saving time.
UP NEXT: The race at Fontana, California, next Sunday concludes NASCAR's three-week Western swing.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.