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Harvick Drives To Second Straight Cup Win

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, March 4 2018

Kevin Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team made it look easy on Sunday. Again. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Kevin Harvick collected his second-straight easy victory Sunday as he won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Harvick led 209 of 267 laps in the event in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and his win came a week after he also dominated in winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway – which was also a 1.5-mile oval.

“These last two weeks, we’ve hit on everything we needed to,” Harvick said. “This stems back to last year when our mile-and-a-half program got so much better.”

Hometown boy Kyle Busch finished second in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, almost three and a half second back.

Kyle Larson finished third, defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. fourth and Ryan Blaney fifth.

Larson said what most of the rest of the field must have been thinking.

“I don’t know about catching the Ford (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.”

Harvick dominated the first two stages of the race as he lead all but a handful of laps in winning both those stages.

But early in the final, 107-lap stage, Joey Logano used quick pit stop to move to the front.

But on a restart with 73 laps to go, Harvick shot back to the front past Logano and blew out to a big lead. With 67 laps to go, that lead reached 2 seconds.

Harvick and second-place Blaney headed to the pits for their final scheduled stops with 42 laps to go. When the pitting cycled through with 37 laps to go, Harvick was back in the lead and was 3.5 seconds ahead of second Keselowski, who was running out of sequence, and 4 seconds ahead of Blaney.

Making a move over the final 20 laps was Kyle Busch. He moved past both Blaney and Keselowski and into second place.

Busch was able to close to within ?? seconds of Harvick, but could not set himself up for a challenge.

The race was relatively clean with just three cautions in the first 182 laps. But with 84 laps to go, Kurt Busch, running ninth got sideways and took out Chase Elliott, who was running 10th. Both cars went to the garages.

“I was running the low groove and it just stepped out on me,” Busch said. “Ruined his day, ruined our day, Wasn’t even pushing hard. It just stepped out on me. Just ridiculous.”

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Sunday, March 4, 2018

  1. (2) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 267.
  2. (13) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267.
  3. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267.
  4. (4) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267.
  5. (1) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 267.
  6. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267.
  7. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 267.
  8. (9) Erik Jones, Toyota, 267.
  9. (12) Paul Menard, Ford, 267.
  10. (29) Aric Almirola, Ford, 266.
  11. (25) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 266.
  12. (14) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 266.
  13. (16) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 266.
  14. (7) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 265.
  15. (28) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 265.
  16. (20) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 265.
  17. (19) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 265.
  18. (11) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 265.
  19. (21) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 264.
  20. (24) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 264.
  21. (26) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Chevrolet, 264.
  22. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 264.
  23. (23) David Ragan, Ford, 264.
  24. (31) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 264.
  25. (30) Cole Custer(i), Ford, 264.
  26. (18) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 263.
  27. (17) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 263.
  28. (34) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 262.
  29. (33) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 262.
  30. (27) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 262.
  31. (36) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 255.
  32. (37) * Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, 253.
  33. (35) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, Engine, 195.
  34. (6) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Accident, 183.
  35. (3) Kurt Busch, Ford, Accident, 183.
  36. (22) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, Accident, 176.
  37. (15) Michael McDowell, Ford, Engine, 100.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  141.756 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 49 Mins, 31 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.906 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 29 laps.

Lead Changes:  11 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Blaney 1; K. Harvick 2-38; M. McDowell 39-49; K. Harvick 50-121; Kyle Busch 122-125; K. Harvick 126-163; J. Logano 164-176; M. Truex Jr. 177-182; J. Logano 183-194; K. Harvick 195-224; Kyle Busch 225-230; K. Harvick 231-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Harvick 5 times for 214 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 25 laps; M. McDowell 1 time for 11 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 10 laps; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 6 laps; R. Blaney 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 4,78,42,12,22,2,41,9,18,21

Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,12,42,22,18,2,78,41,9,21

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, March 4 2018
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