Phoenix NASCAR: Kevin Harvick takes second straight victory

Kevin Harvick survived two late race restarts to win the Phoenix NASCAR Sprint Cup race, taking his second consecutive victory and fifth in the last six races at the track

Phoenix NASCAR: Kevin Harvick takes second straight victory

The 2014 champion took the lead from Joey Logano early on after a poor start from pole position, and dominated the first half of the race, with Logano again his main rival for much of that period.

Harvick continued to keep various opponents at arm's length, including series returnee and Stewart-Haas team-mate Kurt Busch, back from a three week suspension from NASCAR.

Busch showed no sign of rustiness as he fought his way up the order methodically through the race, finally challenging for the lead with two thirds of the distance remaining.

Harvick then made the most of a caution period for his team-mate and boss Tony Stewart spinning with 76 laps to go, stretching a two-second lead out over a short period after the restart and using the clean air to his advantage.

With 24 laps to go, Stewart ended up in the wall for a second time, bringing the pack back onto Harvick's tail for the run to the finish.

But Harvick held off the challenge of Jamie McMurray - a mainstay in and around the top 10 all day after qualifying third - to become 2015's first repeat winner after last week's Las Vegas triumph.

Behind McMurray, Ryan Newman continued his strong start to 2015 by taking third ahead of Hendrick Motorsports' strongest driver all weekend - Kasey Kahne.

Busch came home fifth after a brilliant recovery - he and Jeff Gordon took four tyres at the caution with 24 laps to go and the pair plummeted down the order as others changed only two.

Gordon also recovered well - to ninth - after spending the majority of the day struggling with the #24 car.

His team-mate Jimmie Johnson finished 11th after qualifying uncharacteristically low in 20th.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver suffered contact with Joe Gibbs Racing's Carl Edwards in the pits, forcing Johnson to revisit pitlane for repairs and lose more ground.

Tyre wear was a vital issue all day, as both Dale Earnhardt Jr and Sam Hornish Jr suffered right rear tyre failures.

Earnhardt had been mired back in the midfield after a pitlane speeding penalty and the tyre failure sent him into the wall with just over 200 laps to go.

By the time he returned to the pits, his Hendrick Chevrolet's right rear was on fire and rescue crews struggled to put the flames out.

Hornish's right rear deflation didn't put him out of the race, but did leave him many laps down and out of contention.

RESULTS - 312 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 2h57m01.s
2 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1.153s
3 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1.781s
4 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 2.737s
5 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 4.343s
6 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 4.379s
7 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 5.356s
8 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 7.160s
9 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 7.389s
10 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 7.687s
11 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 7.738s
12 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 8.153s
13 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 8.508s
14 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 8.970s
15 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 8.981s
16 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 9.843s
17 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 10.691s
18 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 10.874s
19 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 11.047s
20 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 11.847s
21 David Ragan Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 12.166s
22 Landon Cassill Hillman Smith Motorsports Chevrolet 12.222s
23 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 12.441s
24 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 12.710s
25 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 13.208s
26 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 13.321s
27 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 13.733s
28 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 3 Laps
29 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 3 Laps
30 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 3 Laps
31 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota 3 Laps
32 Brett Moffitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 3 Laps
33 Mike Bliss Go FAS Racing Ford 4 Laps
34 Jeb Burton BK Racing Toyota 5 Laps
35 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 5 Laps
36 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Ford 6 Laps
37 Brendan Gaughan Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 6 Laps
38 Alex Kennedy Circle Sport Chevrolet 8 Laps
39 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Accident
40 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 35 Laps
41 Brian Vickers Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 82 Laps
42 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 110 Laps
43 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Accident

LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Kevin Harvick 182
2 Joey Logano 160
3 Martin Truex Jr. 155
4 Kasey Kahne 132
5 A.J. Allmendinger 127
6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 126
7 Jimmie Johnson 124
8 Ryan Newman 123
9 Brad Keselowski 116
10 Matt Kenseth 113
11 Paul Menard 112
12 Casey Mears 111
13 Denny Hamlin 108
14 Aric Almirola 105
15 Clint Bowyer 101
16 Greg Biffle 101
17 Kyle Larson 98
18 David Ragan 98
19 Jamie McMurray 97
20 David Gilliland 92
21 Carl Edwards 88
22 Austin Dillon 88
23 Danica Patrick 86
24 Sam Hornish Jr. 79
25 Jeff Gordon 77

Chase spots provisionally secured: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson

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