Kevin Harvick wins at Phoenix for third consecutive Cup series victory

Kevin Harvick wins at Phoenix for third consecutive Cup series victory

The victory in Sunday's race at ISM Raceway marked the first time Harvick had strung together three consecutive Cup victories. "Any time you can reach out and grab motivation, for me, that's just a piece of the puzzle".

Kevin Harvick is at his best when he's mad, so much so that former crew chief Gil Martin used to try to rile him up during races.

"I look at making the final round as an accomplishment for me", Harvick said. "That's the type of determination and grit that you want in a race team". His post-race penalty at Vegas notwithstanding, Harvick has been untouchable for the better part of a month.

"Actions speak louder than any words I can come up with, " Harvick said. Harvick picked off Hamlin on the next lap and from there it was essentially a two man race. He was seventh two weeks ago at Atlanta as Harvick smoked the field.

"I made it very clear to pat my window and thank it for doing its job", he said. On the flip side, Kyle Busch led a race-high 128 laps. Busch's team dropped the jack and had trouble with the right rear tire on the stop with 53 laps left, allowing Harvick - who pitted three laps earlier - to slip ahead.

"Our cars were pretty evenly matched today", said Busch. "We didn't stomp 'em but we won and that's really all that matters".

He only led 38 laps, but most importantly. he got the win. Busch ended in second while Chase Elliot finished third.

Fun, and stressful for Childers on the pit box. "To sit down there in the corner and watch these guys race like that was like my short track days".

Denny Hamlin ran fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr.

"I needed a little bit of forward drive there at the end", Elliott said. Just a good game plan and good execution by everybody. In case you haven't noticed, Kurt Busch was running quite well Sunday, and Aric Almirola is enjoying a more consistent success in the 10 vehicle. I always forget our owners, Gene Haas and Tony Stewart, but what a bad ass team right there.

His older brother Kurt Busch won Stage 2 when a late caution shook up the running order after pit stops, and the elder Busch - who had a good auto all day but never one that could stay with the leaders over a long stretch - came out on top.

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Harvick finally caught and passed Busch on lap 290 and was able to hold him off to the finish. Kurt stayed out during a caution and swiped the second in a one-lap shootout.

Yes, Kevin Harvick, I see you too.

Anything short of a win Sunday would've only intensified the chatter that Harvick won at Atlanta and Las Vegas not exclusively because he is a great driver with a superior team, but because crew chief Rodney Childers had somehow sneaked a tricked-up, illegal auto through NASCAR technical inspection.

Inspection at NASCAR's Research and Development Center resulted in dramatic penalties after last Sunday's win at Las Vegas. He also lost the playoff points he had earned during the race.

Harvick regained the points lead Sunday, moving 12 ahead of Kyle Busch. "They had each other's back in the media and how they methodically went through this whole process over the last week".

Harvick began the winning streak at Atlanta after crashing and finishing 31st in the season-opening Daytona 500.

The last time a driver won three in a row, it was Busch in the 2015 season.

Harvick broke a tie with Kyle Busch with 14 NASCAR national-series victories at the track.

Harvick got in front of Busch on the last series of pit stops. He has one Xfinity win and four Truck victories at the track.

It also came after the No. 4 team was hit with penalties after its win the previous week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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