Say it again: Defiant Kevin Harvick wins at Phoenix for 3rd in a row
Kevin Harvick scored his third consecutive victory Sunday, earning his ninth career win at ISM Raceway and sending a message to those who questioned his team after its recent penalty.
Harvick’s victory comes after his team was penalized this past week for a failed window brace and a side skirt not made of aluminum. Harvick lost all seven playoff points he earned at Atlanta. After exiting his car, Harvick leaned over to pound the rear window of his car.
“I’ve been pissed is what I’ve been,’' Harvick said to Fox after the win. “I’ve been mad as all get out because this team does a great job. This organization 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. What a badass team right there!
“This really felt more important than winning at Homestead, racing for a championship, just to drive it home for all those supporters out there. And all you haters (smiles and points), I see you.’'
MORE: Phoenix Race results
MORE: Points report
Harvick, 42, becomes the first driver age 40 or older to win three consecutive races since Harry Gant won four in Sept. 1991 at age 51. Harvick is the first driver to win three Cup races in a row since Joey Logano won three consecutive races in the second round of the 2015 playoffs. Harvick’s win also is his seventh in the last 12 races at the Arizona track.
Kyle Busch finished second Sunday. Chase Elliott placed third and was followed by Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
Stewart-Haas Racing placed all four cars in the top 10 for the first time with Harvick (first), Clint Bowyer (sixth), Aric Almirola (seventh) and Kurt Busch (10th).
Stage 1 winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 2 winner: Kurt Busch
How Kevin Harvick won the race: He took his time, worked his way to the front and took control of the race in the second half after leap-frogging Kyle Busch on a green-flag pit stop.
Who had a good race: Kyle Busch scored his second consecutive runner-up finish. … Chase Elliott’s third-place finish marked the first top-five result of the season for Hendrick Motorsports. ... Aric Almirola finished seventh and has not placed worse than 13th in any of the first four races this year. ... Daniel Suarez finished a season-best eighth. ... William Byron finished a career-best 12th and led his first laps in Cup.
Who had a bad race: Paul Menard’s race ended early when his car broke loose after the bead on his right-rear tire melted, causing it to break loose and back into the SAFER barrier. he finished 36th. ... Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 28th, slowed by two separate loose wheels during the race. ... Jamie McMurray placed 26th for his second consecutive finish outside the top 25.
Notable: Kevin Harvick’s win marks the third time a driver has won three of the first four races in a season. Only one driver has won four of the season’s first five races (Bill Elliott in 1992).
Quote of the day: “All you haters, I see you,’' Kevin Harvick said after the win.
Next: The Cup series races at Auto Club Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on March 18.