Last season’s Sprint Cup champion will have the opportunity to win another.
Despite feeling some bad vibrations in the car in the final laps, Kevin Harvick managed to easily hold off Martin Truex Jr. to win Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his first series victory and all-but ensuring him a chance to compete in this season’s championship Chase.
Ryan Newman finished third, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth and Denny Hamlin was fifth.
The win is the 29th of Harvick’s career and first at Vegas. Harvick has now won three of the series’ last six races.
On Lap 230 of 267, teams began the final green-flag pit stops of the race. Earnhardt took two new tires while Harvick took four and Earnhardt came off pit road first. Before the rest of the cars had finished their stops, Harvick had already powered around Earnhardt and put himself back into position to reclaim the lead on Lap 253.
Three who mattered
Kevin Harvick: Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing seems to have picked up where it left off from last season, when Harvick won his first series championship.
Martin Truex Jr.: What a difference a year makes. Truex had one of worst seasons of his career last year but he’s been on fire in 2015 and was in position to claim the win if Harvick faltered at the finish.
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson appeared to have a rocket ship Sunday but was forced to pit under green early in the race for a loose wheel and then wrecked on Lap 173.
Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
When: 3:30 p.m. ET March 15.
Radio: Motor Racing Network.
Three tweets from Sunday’s race: