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After spending his entire 13-year career at Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick left RCR and went to Stewart-Hass Racing this year. The decision turned out to be a good one as Harvick won Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at Phoenix International Raceway, the second race of the year.
Joey Logano, who started on the front row with teammate Brad Keselowski, took the lead on the first lap. He led 71 laps in the race. Harvick started 13th and took the lead on lap 74 and led the rest of the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the Daytona 500 last week, started fifth and worked his way towards the front and ran there all day. On lap 171, Danica Patrick and Cup rookie Justin Allgier crashed. Fifteen laps later, Patrick spun after having a tire problem. Harvick kept the lead on a couple of late race restarts although Earnhardt and Logano tried to get by Harvick on a restart with nine laps to go but couldn’t get by, according to Sporting News.
Keselowski and Logano stayed in the top five all day and finished third and fourth behind Harvick and Earnhardt. Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five.
“This solidifies so many things, so many decisions," Harvick said in victory lane. "I’ve got to thank all the guys at Stewart-Haas. What a racecar. The 22 (Logano) was able to time his restarts there and I knew what was going to happen, he was going to take a shot down low. I tried to do the best I could.”
The win was the 24th win of Harvick’s career. He led 224 of 312 laps and won at Phoenix for a fifth time, most among all drivers, and he has won three of the last six races there, according to ESPN. No one had anything for Harvick, who not only dominated the race but won practice on Saturday.
"They beat everybody before they came to the track today," Keselowski told the Associated Press. "It's a great combination. They were prepared for the weekend. To me, Randy Childers is like a rubber-stamp, carbon-copy of Paul Wolfe. He's a great crew chief and it was just a matter of time before he found a combination that he excelled with."
After two races, Earnhardt is the points leader by six points over Keselowski, then its Gordon, Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Logano. Next week, NASCAR races in Las Vegas.
image courtesy of image.net/photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway