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article imageNASCAR: Harvick off to blistering start in 2015

By John Duarte     Mar 16, 2015 in Sports
Avondale - It was almost a drive in the park for Kevin Harvick as he continued his domination at Phoenix International Raceway by winning the 500 on Mar. 15, 2015.
After dominating the afternoon, Harvick fought off Jamie McMurray in the closing stages of the race on his way to winning a fourth consecutive visit to the desert racetrack. Harvick led the 500 for all but 18 of the race's 312 laps, for a masterful racing display. He came under pressure on the restart on Lap 301, when McMurray briefly edged the race leader on the inside of the track. But Harvick just had too much race car on this afternoon and he thanked his crew for that.
“These guys just make good decisions based on the information we have on a week-to-week basis,” Harvick said. “I'm just lucky to be the guy riding it.”
McMurray blamed himself for the missed opportunity in not fully overtaking Harvick when he had the chance. The second-place finisher said he heard his spotter yell “clear” and had momentum, but didn't feel he could get past Harvick.
“(In) Hindsight, I would have listened to my spotter a little and just moved up,” McMurray said. “If I could do my restart over again right now, I would have done something a little different.
“It is what it is,” McMurray added. “I am really happy with second. (But) It would be nice to be in Victory Lane and know you were locked into the Chase (for the Sprint Cup) the way the point format works.”
Ryan Newman finished third for the second-consecutive race.
It has really been an amazing string for Harvick at Phoenix International Raceway. He has won four straight at the track and on five of the last six races there. One could go on to say that Harvick owns Phoenix. He has seven Sprint Cup victories overall at the track and s finished in the Top 10 14 times in his 25 races there.
The reigning Sprint Cup Series champion is on a roll. He has started the 2015 season by finishing second or better in the four races this year, winning the last two. The latest result marks the seventh consecutive time Harvick has finished in the Top 2 going back to the end of the 2014 season. Only three drivers have managed that feat in the history of NASCAR racing. David Pearson did it in 1968 and NASCAR legend Richard Petty had seven-straight Top 2 finishes six times in his career.
“When you said the Richard Petty part, that gives me chills,” Harvick said to the moderator.
Harvick is off to a sizzling start in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Two wins and two runner-up finishes place him at the top of the series' standings, 22 points clear of 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano. Martin Truex Jr. is third, 27 points back of Harvick.
NASCAR nation now heads for Auto Club Speedway, in California, and the Auto Club 400, on Mar, 22, 2015.
Few are looking forward to the next race as much as Harvick's team. Crew chief Rodney Childers said sweeping the West Coast races is not beyond the realm of possibility with Harvick in the zone.
“When we left Vegas last week, (Harvick) made a point to say, 'I want to win all three of these races,'” Childress said. “I think anybody that knows Kevin Harvick (knows), if he puts his head to something, he's going to try to make it happen.”
For California-native Harvick, it's all about the focus.
“You just have to forget about what you did,” he said. “Not talking about anything other than what we're going to do at California next week. How we prepare for that. Not taking your eyes off the prize. Staying focused on what we need to do for California.”
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, kevin harvick, phoenix international raceway, Auto racing
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