Harvick pulls away from Kyle Busch for third straight win
Kevin Harvick ignored the controversy and noise at ISM Raceway in Phoenix on Sunday to capture his third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series win.
Harvick, whose team were hit with an L1 penalty on Wednesday after his Las Vegas-winning car was found with two violations stemming from a rear-window malfunction, took the lead away from Ryan Newman on lap 291 (of 312) and was able to hold off Kyle Busch for his ninth career victory at Phoenix.
The win makes Harvick the first driver to achieve three straight wins since Ford's Joey Logano swept the round of 12 play-off segment in 2015 (Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega).
"I've been mad as all get out because this team does a great job," Harvick told Fox Sports after the race about having play-off points docked because of last week's violation.
"This organisation does a great job and we've got fast race cars. And to take that away from those guys just really pissed me off last week.
"To come here to a race track that is so good for us is a lot of fun and everyone was just determined this week and we just wanted to just go stomp them. We didn't stomp them, but we won. That's all that really matters. Just proud of this team. Put a fire in our belly."
Kyle Busch, who led a race-high 128 laps, was frustrated with second place as he blamed a late pit stop on the runner-up spot.
"Before the race, I knew the 4 [Harvick] was the car to beat. I didn't think we were going to be the second-best car today but we actually had a shot to out-race 'em and beat 'em, but it just didn't work out," Busch told reporters after the race.
"Obviously our pitstop wasn't stellar, and then I got back up pretty good. I got relatively close, and I was counting on the 9 [Chase Elliott] to hold him up a little bit more, and be able to protect his spot a little bit longer than he did. That way, I could try to at least get alongside the 4, and make it a three-way battle for the lead like I did earlier when it was the 11 [Denny Hamlin] holding up the 4. It just never transpired that way.
"[Crew chief] Adam [Stevens] and the guys did some awesome changes overnight, because we weren't that good yesterday. Proud to come home second, but now it's starting to get frustrating."
Chase Elliott finished third followed by Denny Hamlin and pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr.