Kevin Harvick Dominates Field En-route to Vegas Win

Kevin Harvick offered up a clinic to the other drivers and warned them that he will be a driver to watch out for this season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup playoffs. Those same playoffs that will kick off the playoffs this September in Vegas.

Kevin Harvick Dominates Field En-route to Vegas Win
Happy Harvick Wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA)

Kevin Harvick wins for the second week in a row in his "Freaky Fast" Ford this time at Las Vegas after dominating all three stages and putting on another clinic for the rest of the field to sit back and watch.

As you look at the last two weeks and our 1.5-mile program in general, it has been really good since I started here at SHR,” said Harvick, a Bakersfield, California, native. “They put a lot of effort into everything we do from every standpoint to get these cars going like they are. It’s great to win on the West Coast for me.

Kevin Harvick re-takes the lead to start stage two.
Kevin Harvick re-takes the lead to start stage two.                 

Harvick dominated the race leading 214 of the 267 laps Sunday, the most ever by any winner at the 1.5-mile track. It was his 39th career Monster Energy Series win and 100th overall across all three of NASCAR’s touring series combined. Only three other drivers have done that in the history of NASCAR.

There was no catching that 4,” Las Vegas native Kyle Busch said. “They were on rails today… Certainly would have liked to have been able to run down the 4 or catch the 4 and put on a race, but they were just so far out there and so far the class of the field all day long, I don’t think anybody was really keeping up with them.”

Kyle Larson passes Ryan Blaney late in the race.
Kyle Larson passes Ryan Blaney late in the race.                 

Busch came home second some 2.906 seconds behind the Closer and third place finisher Kyle Larson was an entire 13 seconds behind. Defending race winner and Champion Martin Truex Jr. finished in the fourth place while pole-sitter Ryan Blaney finished in fifth.

Stage Recaps-

Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick lead the field to the green flag to start the race.
Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick lead the field to the green flag to start the race.                 

Stage one and two were much the same, the #4 Ford charging away from the pack once he would get into the lead. Overall Harvick led 68 of the opening 80 laps of stage one and 144 of the 160 laps that made up both stages.

However, following a wreck on lap 183 in the final stage between Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch, Harvick would end up losing positions on pit road and would have to come up through traffic to make his way back to the front.

Chase Elliott had no luck in Vegas unfortunately.
Chase Elliott had no luck in Vegas unfortunately.                 

We had some trouble getting through traffic there,” Harvick said. “That was our worst run, as far as where the car was. I don’t know if it was just the car, tire set, handling, whatever it was. We were just stuck in traffic and needed to come make an adjustment.”

But Harvick would find himself in second on the restart beside Joey Logano and took off at the drop of the green flag and led the rest of the way to the checkered flag.

Harvick takes the checkered flag.
Harvick takes the checkered flag.                 

Trouble for Seven-Time-

Jimmie Johnson flights to stay on the lead lap late in the race.
Jimmie Johnson flights to stay on the lead lap late in the race.                 

Jimmie Johnson had some pre-race drama as his team had trouble getting through technical inspection to the point of where his car chief Jesse Saunders was ejected from the track before the race even started and the #48 Lowe’s for Pro’s Chevy had to start at the rear of the field. He did manage to make a recovery though and came home in the 12th position, his best finish of the 2018 season so far through three races.

Rookie-sensation Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr was the highest finishing rooking having come home in the 21st spot while William Byron came home in the 27th position.

Bubba was the top finishing rookie in the field.
Bubba was the top finishing rookie in the field.                 

After the Vegas race, Harvick would take the points lead from Joey Logano by just three points having now gotten 135 points. He also has the advantage of 13 Playoff points just three races into the 2018 season. Blaney sits in third just four points back.  

Ryan Blaney came home in fifth to retain third place in the season standings.
Ryan Blaney came home in fifth to retain third place in the season standings.