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Harvick wins at Phoenix again, Johnson takes 28-point lead
Avondale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) – Kevin Harvick won the Chase race at Phoenix
International Raceway for the second year in a row, while Jimmie Johnson took
a big step towards claiming his sixth Sprint Cup Series championship with a
third-place finish in Sunday’s AdvoCare 500.
Johnson grabbed a 28-point lead over Matt Kenseth, who finished one lap behind
in 23rd after dealing with an ill-handling car throughout this 312-lap race.
Kenseth had been seven points behind. If Johnson finishes 23rd or better in
next weekend’s season-finale at Homestead, he will clinch the title,
regardless of what Kenseth or any other driver does.
Carl Edwards, who won at Phoenix in March, held the lead late in the race, but
Edwards ran out of fuel just before he crossed the line to complete the
second-to-last lap. That allowed second-place runner Harvick to take over the
top spot. Harvick then beat Kasey Kahne at the finish by 1.8 seconds for his
fourth win this season, including his second in the Chase. He won the Oct. 6
event at Kansas.
“Miracles happen every day,” Harvick said over his team radio just before
taking the checkered flag.
Harvick is in his last season with Richard Childress Racing before he moves
over to Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2014 season. He led the most laps in this
race with 70. It was his fourth Sprint Cup win at Phoenix, which placed him in
a tie with Johnson for most victories here.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth, while Kurt Busch took the fifth spot.
Edwards ended up in 21st.
Harvick’s win allowed him to remain in championship contention with Johnson
and Kenseth. He is now 34 points out of the lead.