Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards twice bumped on the final lap before Harvick inched over the finish line first in an overtime finish Sunday for his record eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Phoenix International Raceway.
Harvick had the lead on the restart finish before the charging Edwards made it a side-by-side duel. After the cars banged a second time, Harvick nosed to the line 0.010 seconds ahead to continue his dominance at the mile oval. It’s the same margin of victory as Denny Hamlin’s thrilling win last month in the Daytona 500.
Harvick made up for qualifying 18th by shooting toward the front early in the race. His took the lead for good in the No. 4 Chevrolet when he immediately passed Edwards on a restart with 77 laps to go.
It gave NASCAR another thrilling finish with its new downforce and aerodynamic packages. Used for the first time on a mile-track, the package helped produce plenty of passing and only a handful of tire issues after long green-flag runs.
Harvick and Edwards each showed off their driving skills as the cars banged and wobbled through the final turn.
Denny Hamlin recovered from an early pit penalty to finish third. Kyle Busch started from the pole and led the first 77 laps before ending up fourth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, who ended Harvick’s four-race winning streak at Phoenix with a rain-shortened victory in November, was fifth.
Two days after a scary crash in which he pulled off his steering wheel in qualifying, Jimmie Johnson finished 11th.
Harvick has won five of the past six races and six of eight at Phoenix.