Kevin Harvick-Carl Edwards duel ranks among closest finishes in NASCAR
For the second time this season, the winning margin of victory was one-hundredth of a second.
Less than a month after Denny Hamlin nipped Martin Truex Jr. by that margin in the Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick edged Carl Edwards in a side-by-side duel Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.
The finish ranks as the closest at Phoenix and seventh closest since the advent of electronic timing and scoring more than 20 years ago.
Two other races had the same winning margin: Matt Kenseth over Kasey Kahne in Feb. 2004 at North Carolina Speedway, and Dale Earnhardt over Bobby Labonte in March 2000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Harvick now has three victories among the 10 closest finishes with his March 2001 win at Atlanta over Jeff Gordon by .006 seconds and his April 2005 win at Talladega Superspeedway over Jamie McMurray by .011 seconds.
“I’ve got a few in that category,’’ Harvick said after his 32nd career Sprint Cup victory. “I don’t know why we have to make it so close.’’
Sunday’s finish was set up when the race went to overtime after Kasey Kahne had tire issues and brought out the caution.
Harvick restarted in the lead after not pitting. Edwards pitted for two tires and restarted fourth — behind Harvick on the outside lane.
Edwards, seeking his first Cup win since last year’s Southern 500, made his run in Turn 3 on the last lap and got underneath Harvick. They ran side-by-side bouncing off each other toward the finish.
“I ran into him about as hard as I thought I could without wrecking him, and it ended up being a drag race,’’ Edwards said. “It was kind of fun coming to the line because I thought, ‘Man, I got him,’ and then he doored me real hard. Then he got a little run and then I tried to door him and slow him down, but it just didn’t work.’’
Said Harvick: “I knew I was going to have to be on defense because he beat me through the center of (Turns) 3 and 4 all day. I was fully expecting everything that I got, but I just needed to be able to get knocked up the track far enough to be able to put the throttle back down.
“I was kind of a couple feet behind and was able to kind of scrub against his door a little bit to slow him back down. By the time he’d realized that he was going to be behind, we had carried the momentum by him and we were at the start‑finish line.’’
Harvick said he had no issues with the contact from Edwards.
“I would have done the same thing,’’ Harvick said. “After the race, that’s what we said to each other.
“You’re coming to the checkered flag and he wants to win for his team and I want to win for my team, and there’s a lot on the line.’’