Kevin Harvick wins NASCAR race in Arizona

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It was the Stewart-Haas Racing driver's ninth victory at the Phoenix track.

The No. 4 team won the race at Vegas, but will not get the benefits of that win for the NASCAR Playoffs (a total of seven playoff points for winning the race and both stages). Hamlin. Harvick. Kyle Busch and Chase Elliot.

"To come here and a race track that is so good for us, is a lot of fun", Harvick said.

"Everybody was just determined this week. We didn't stomp them but we won and that's all that matters".

Rodgers, who went on to win two K&N races later in the season, will be a teammate of Harvick's in Thursday night's race at Kern County.

"I've been mad as all get-out", Harvick said, adding that the penalties "really pissed me off".

Harvick overtook Elliott on Lap 274.

Among other things, Harvick is known for driving the No. 4 Jimmy John's vehicle. "We were fifth here in the fall and that was about all we can do". Our (final) pit stop wasn't stellar. "I got through one and two, where I had been struggling, good and just got off the brake too soon and got it up the racetrack".

"It was solid", Elliott said. He made up a lot of ground when I was racing with Chase and we were able to maintain that gap at the end. It felt more important to win this week than it did to win a race at Homestead for a championship.

"I'm 42, done this for a long time", Harvick said. "We gave it our best effort today". Meanwhile, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex and Denny Hamlin have all raced inside the top five for Toyota.

Pole-winner Kyle Larson led 52 of the first 54 laps. He has won a record eight times on the one-mile track.

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Indeed, by taking only two tires, William Byron and Aric Almirola ended up in the first two spots after pit stops, and Byron pulled out in front to lead his first Cup Series laps of any significance.

Younger brother Kyle Busch won the opening stage and was leading when the caution came out.

Busch came in first and had enough trouble to lose a couple of seconds on the stop.

Harvick regained the points lead Saturday, moving 12 ahead of Busch.

With 120 to go, Paul Menard spun and crashed and that sent the field to the pits. This after Busch spent most of the afternoon pretending to be Harvick.

With 112 to go, Harvick cleared Busch for third.

Time and again, Harvick and Busch tried to pass Hamlin. He continues to put the youth movement talk on hold, having led 433 of the series' last 904 laps.

A win Sunday would make Harvick only the second active driver to log nine wins at one track. He took the lead with 22 laps to go and basically coasted home to his third consecutive Cup victory, leaving Busch and the other pretenders to ponder what might have been - and if Harvick might win every other race for the rest of the year.

Rodgers raced fulltime in the West Series past year for Jefferson Pitts Racing and Harvick was in a Jefferson Pitts vehicle at Sonoma. Sponsorless, the #32 auto was in risk of not racing, but his competitor drivers Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick both chipped in $5,000 of their own money to help. A lap later, Elliott moved past Hamlin.

Wickens, 28, was dominant all day but was left fuming afterward when he was knocked out of contention by contact with Alexander Rossi on a restart with two laps remaining.

Rodgers ran third in a Jefferson Pitts Racing auto at KCRP last March and announced late last week that he would be back in a Jefferson Pitts vehicle for the opener at KCRP.

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