The Latest: Kyle Busch wins 1st stage; Kevin Harvick 2nd
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Latest on the NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at ISM Raceway (all times local):
Kevin Harvick raced to his third straight NASCAR Cup Series victory, holding off Kyle Busch for his record-extending ninth win at ISM Raceway.
Coming off victories in Atlanta and Las Vegas, Harvick got in front of Busch on the last series of pit stops on the mile oval. Busch’s team had trouble with the right rear tire on his stop with 53 laps left, allowing Harvick – who pitted three laps earlier – to slip ahead en route to his 40th Cup victory.
Harvick took the lead with 22 laps left when Ryan Newman finally made his last stop on the sunny afternoon after morning rain.
Harvick is the first driver to win three straight Cup races since Joey Logano in 2015. After technical violations marred his victory last week in Las Vegas, Harvick was the fastest in practice Saturday and steadily worked his way to the front after starting 10th.
The 2014 series champion has 14 NASCAR national-series victories at the track, also winning an Xfinity event and four Truck races. In 31 Cup starts in Phoenix, the California driver was 15 top-five finishes.
Busch was 0.774 seconds back. Chase Elliott was third, followed by Denny Hamlin, pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Eric Jones and Kurt Busch.
Kurt Busch won the second 75-lap stage in the NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway in a one-lap shootout after a caution period.
Busch stayed on the track while the leaders pitted after Chris Buescher hit the wall on Lap 146.
Younger brother Kyle Busch won the opening stage and was leading when the caution came out. He ended up fourth in the stage, and regained the lead when the drivers who didn’t pit for the caution came in for fuel and tires after the segment.
Kevin Harvick was second behind Kyle Busch on the restart.
Harvick is coming off consecutive victories in Atlanta and Las Vegas and has a record eight Cup victories at the track.
Kyle Busch won the first 75-lap stage of the NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway, and Kevin Harvick moved up to second in his bid for a third straight victory.
Busch took the lead from Kyle Larson on Lap 56 after Larson had led every green-flag lap. Busch won the Phoenix fall race in 2015, and has nine Xfinity and two Truck wins at the desert track.
Larson passed Martin Truex Jr. on the first lap, lost the top spot to Truex on the first pit stop, and jumped ahead again off the restart.
Harvick started 10th on the mile oval where he has a record eight victories. He won the last two weeks in Atlanta and Las Vegas.
Larson was third in the stage, followed by Denny Hamlin and Truex.
Corey LaJoie lost an engine on Lap 26, bringing out the caution period that served as the scheduled Lap 35 competition caution.
Kevin Harvick started 10th at ISM Raceway, chasing his third straight NASCAR Cup Series victory and record-extending ninth at the desert track.
He’s also was trying to get past penalties for technical violations found after his Las Vegas victory last week.
Defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. started from the pole, followed by the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. Team Penske’s Logano started fifth. Logano is the last driver to win three in a row, accomplishing the feat in 2015.
Morning rain gave way to sun well before the drivers hit the track. On Friday, light rain delayed the Xfinity Series race for two hours.
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