“That one is not fun to swallow,” said Harvick of the Phoenix loss

Kevin Harvick Phoenix Nascar Cup race

On Sunday at Phoenix, it was obvious that Kevin Harvick had a strong long-run car, and by the end of the race, he eventually got to show it.

Kevin Harvick Phoenix Nascar Cup race

Kyle Larson and William Byron, drivers of Hendrick Motorsports, seemed to be the best in the field for the second week in a row and took the first two stages.

But later in the last stage, after a series of green-flag pit stops, Harvick emerged in second place behind Larson and started to progressively catch up to him.

On Lap 269 of 317, Harvick, who is competing in his final full-time season of the NASCAR Cup Series, overtook Larson for the lead and appeared to be cruising to his 10th series victory at Phoenix. With fewer than 15 laps to go, he had built a lead of more over 3 seconds.

A terrible yellow

All of the lead-lap cars were sent down pit road after a late yellow for a spin and blown tire debris from Harrison Burton’s No. 21 Ford. The top six received two fresh tires. The first racer to collect four was Harvick, who finished seventh.

In spite of the fresh tires, Harvick’s No. 4 Ford struggled to gain any distance on the short run on the next restart with three laps remaining and again in overtime. He finished fifth.

“That one is not fun to swallow. We had a great car and didn’t need that caution at the end,” Harvick said. “We had a strong car and a chance to win.

“Just hate missing an opportunity when you have a car that strong.”

Harvick didn’t have any problems with crew chief Rodney Childers’ decision to take four new tires on his final stop.

“It’s what I would have done. I’d always rather be on offense,” Harvick said. “I just didn’t get a couple cars when that first caution came out. Kind of lost our chance. Still thought I had a chance there at the end. Those cars were quite a bit slower. They get all jammed up.

“That’s the way it goes. Just smoked ‘em up until the caution.”

Harvick did succeed in breaking the previous NASCAR record of 20 consecutive top-10 finishes at the same track (Phoenix) though.

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Hendrick Motorsports, Kevin Harvick, Las Vegas Cup, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Nascar, NASCAR Cup Series, XFinity

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