Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sports

With final bump, Harvick edges Edwards in Sprint Cup race at Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards twice bumped on the final lap before Harvick inched over the finish line first in an overtime finish Sunday for his record eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Phoenix International Raceway.

Harvick led on the late restart before the charging Edwards made it a side-by-side duel.

"I knew he was better through (Turns) 3 and 4," Harvick said. "That was not the car that I wanted to see behind me."

After the cars banged a second time, Harvick nosed to the line from the outside 0.010 seconds ahead. It's the same margin of victory as Denny Hamlin's win over Martin Truex last month in the Daytona 500. It was the closest finish in track history.

"I got up too high and wasn't able to stay on the bottom like I wanted to and then he got into me, like he should have," Harvick said. "I needed to get a good run off the corner and I was going to have to get into his door. It worked out, just barely."

Harvick made up for qualifying 18th by shooting toward the front early in the race. His took the lead for good in the No. 4 Chevrolet when he immediately passed Edwards on a restart with 77 laps to go.

Harvick built a lead approaching three seconds before Kasey Kahne hit the wall with six laps left to bring out the caution. Harvick had enough fuel for the extra two laps — and just barely enough to hold off Edwards.

"If we had one more lap, I could have passed him clean," Edwards said. "But it just wasn't going to work without bumping him. So I decided to hit him as hard as I did. I really didn't want to wreck him. I thought I moved him enough to get by, but it's just racing."

It gave NASCAR another thrilling finish with its new downforce and aerodynamic packages. Used for the first time on a mile-track, the package helped produce plenty of passing and only a handful of tire issues after long green-flag runs.

Hamlin recovered from an early pit penalty to finish third. Kyle Busch started from the pole and led the first 77 laps before ending up fourth.

Ty Dillon, filling in for the injured Tony Stewart, finished 15th in his second race in the No. 14

Danica Patrick never threatened, but her 19th-place finish was her best of the season.

WRONG ALL AROUND: Before telling drivers to start their engines, executive Mark Boggess of race sponsor Good Sam told the crowd, "You got an extra night's sleep last night." He meant extra hour's sleep. Only people actually lost an hour's sleep — except not in the Valley of the Sun. The area doesn't change clocks for daylight saving time.

Sprint Cup points

Through four of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, will make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts Back

Kevin Harvick* 154—

Kyle Busch 154—

Jimmie Johnson* 140 14

Kurt Busch 137 17

Carl Edwards 136 18

Denny Hamlin* 131 23

Joey Logano 127 27

Austin Dillon 122 32

Martin Truex 117 37

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 115 39

Brad Keselowski* 110 44

Ryan Blaney 104 50

Aric Almirola 100 54

Kasey Kahne 96 58

Jamie McMurray 9460

Matt Kenseth 90 64

* Has a win

Up next

Auto Club 400, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.

TV: Ch. 13

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Published: 02/24/18