In just his second start with the team, Kevin Harvick took his No.4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Phoenix International Raceway.
In a dominating race win, Harvick was up front for 224 of the 312 laps, often leading second place by more than a second. He came into the race one of the favorites to win after leading much of the weekends practice sessions and didn’t disappoint. Guided by Crew Chief Rodney Childers, Harvick and the No.4 team put on an impressive performance.
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr seemed to be the only car strong enough to contend with Harvick but camp up short and finished second, leaving him topping the standings leading into Las Vegas.
The Penske Racing duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano who started on the front row for “The Profit” on CNBS 500 stayed in the top-10 for most of the afternoon and finished third and forth respectively.
“Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions,” said Harvick, “It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in–but what a race car.”
“Rodney Childers has just done a phenomenal job of putting this team together. These guys all want to win. That’s why they came here. That’s why I came here, too. I’ve just got to thank (owners) Gene (Haas) and Tony (Stewart), and (Stewart’s business manager) Eddie Jarvis. In 2012 I told (Jarvis) it would be fun to have Tony and I on the same team, and here we are in Victory Lane.”
Harvick held off Earnhardt Jr and the rest of the field for multiple late race restarts to claim his record fifth victory at Phoenix.
Havick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammated weren’t so lucky during the race. Tony Stewart had a respectable 16th in his second start back in the No.14 after his injury. Kurt Busch ran in the top-10 for much of the race until he dropped a cylinder and faded into the top-20 before it finally let go with just a handful of laps to go.
Danica Patrick was involved in the first wreck of the day after a spinning Justin Allgaier clipped her left side and sent her spinning up the track. A left rear tire would see her spinning again 15 laps later then contact with the No.38 left her 36th and six laps down.