AVONDALE, Ariz. — Kevin Harvick charged to the front early and dominated the rest of the way Sunday for his second straight Sprint Cup victory at Phoenix International Raceway.
Coming off a disappointing finish at the Daytona 500, Harvick had the fastest car in practice and kept it rolling in the race, leading 224 of 312 laps on the odd-shaped mile oval.
Harvick won the fall race at PIR for Richard Childress Racing after Carl Edwards ran out of fuel at the white flag. Harvick needed no help Sunday, quickly moving to the front after starting 13th and pulling away on a series of late restarts to win in his second race with Stewart-Haas Racing. It was Harvick’s fifth Sprint Cup win at PIR, most on the career list.
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, pole sitter Brad Keselowski was third and Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano fourth.
Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five on a warm and partly cloudy day after downpours wiped out the final 32 laps of Saturday’s Nationwide race, won by Kyle Busch
Harvick won at Phoenix during the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in the fall, giving him an outside shot at catching Jimmie Johnson for the series title in his final season with Richard Childress Racing. He came up short, but the victory and a third-place finish in the standings gave him a bit of momentum heading into for his first season with Stewart-Haas.
Harvick had a solid finish in his sights at Daytona last week before a last-lap crash dropped him to 13th.
At Phoenix, Harvick just missed the final stage of knockout qualifying, nipped by 0.001 seconds, but had the fastest car in Saturday morning’s final practice session.
He started 13th and quickly moved his way through the field from the green flag, passing Keselowski on the apron, then Logano for the lead on lap 74. Harvick maintained the lead coming out of green-flag pit stops with just under 200 laps left and again with about 70 laps left.