Kevin Harvick edged Carl Edwards by a hundredth of a second to win the Good Sam 500 in a green-white-checkered finish NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.
It was the eighth career victory for Harvick and his sixth triumph in his last eight races at Phoenix. His narrow margin of victory was the same as Denny Hamlin’s over Martin Truex Jr. in the season-opening Daytona 500. It was the closest finish in the Phoenix track’s history.
Harvick and Edwards were on the front row on a late restart that forced the race’s overtime. Edwards, who had fresh tires, got to the side of Harvick, and their cars banged together before Harvick won by inches.
“I wanted to straighten it and get back into the throttle before the end,” said Harvick, who won his first race of the season.
Hamlin was third, with pole-winner Kyle Busch fourth. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led several laps earlier in the race, was fifth.
Kasey Kahne blew a tire on Lap 308, forcing a caution that would set up the final restart and overtime. Leader Kevin Harvick and second-place Earnhardt elected not to pit, which allowed Edwards (who was fourth and directly behind Earnhardt and with fresh tires) to get in position to make a move on Harvick.
Three who mattered
Kevin Harvick: Wins again at Phoenix (eighth in his career), but not by much.
Carl Edwards: Raced Harvick as cleanly as he could without wrecking the winner at the end.
Denny Hamlin: Finished third, a nice rebound after a rough race at Las Vegas last week.
▪ Two of the season’s first four races have had historically close finishes – Sunday’s and the Daytona 500. The one-hundredth of a second margin between Harvick and Edwards ties for seventh-closest in NASCAR history since electronic scoring was introduced.
▪ Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kahne started at the rear of the field after qualifying mishaps. Johnson recovered and finished 11th, while Kahne’s late crash ruined what had been a strong day (he finished 22nd).
▪ Pole-winner Kyle Busch might have made a costly error during a pit stop, when he slid through the pit box and stopped too close to the wall. Those lost seconds sent him back into the race in 13th place, but he eventually would finish fourth.
▪ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman and Paul Menard all left the race early (Stenhouse on Lap 161, Newman on Lap 51, Menard on Lap 104) after their Chevys hit the Turn 3 wall. Both had melted beads on their tires, the result of overheating brakes.
They said it
“I didn’t want to wreck him. I ran into him as hard as I could without wrecking him, then it became a drag race.” – Edwards
Auto Club 400
Where: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.
When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Radio: Motor Racing Network.