Phoenix NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick wins third race in a row

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick took his third consecutive NASCAR Cup series victory at Phoenix.

The win has moved Harvick back into the lead of the Cup series after his penalty last week for a flexing roof, and he is the first driver to win three races in a row since Joey Logano in the 2015 playoffs.

Harvick’s victory came after a four-way battle for the lead late on with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and his team-mate Denny Hamlin, with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott catching up to the leading pack and making it a four-car fight.

The final 20 laps proved crucial with Harvick and Busch becoming the only two cars in contention for victory, with Harvick edging the one-time champion out for the win with Elliott left to third.

Like his previous two wins, Harvick was a consistent frontrunner and built his winning bid on a strong start.

Having begun the race 10th in the SHR Ford, he moved into the top five within the first 25 laps of the 312 lap race. He was second by lap 60 as Busch won the opening stage.

Harvick started the race 10th in his Ford but had moved up into the top five within the first 25 laps of the 312 lap race.

He was quickly into the leading pack, moving to second behind first stage winner and JGR’s Busch on lap 60 before remaining in the top 10 throughout the second stage.

Busch’s team-mate Hamlin ended up fourth after falling away from the final stage’s decisive final battle after defending against Harvick and Busch.

Polesitter and reigning Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. finished in fifth after running within the top five for the majority of the race, ahead of SHR’s Clint Bowyer.

Bowyer’s team-mate Aric Almirola moved up from 22nd at the start of the race to seventh by the end, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones in eighth and ninth respectively.

SHR’s Kurt Busch rounded off the top 10 after winning the second stage.

The race remaining green through the final stint did catch out some drivers, most notably Penske’s Brad Keselowski who was the only top 10 driver to run a longer final stint in the hopes of a yellow that never arrived and fell to 15th.

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