Harvick wins at Phoenix by .01 of a second

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Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 19 Stanley Toyota, to the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Monday in Avondale, Arizona. AFP PHOTO

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 19 Stanley Toyota, to the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Monday in Avondale, Arizona. AFP PHOTO

AVONDALE, Arizona: Kevin Harvick edged Carl Edwards by one-hundredth of a second to win the Good Sam 500 in a green-white-checkered finish NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 race on Sunday (Monday in Manila) at the Phoenix International Raceway.

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It was the eighth career victory for Harvick and his sixth triumph in his last eight races at Phoenix. His narrow margin of victory was the same as Denny Hamlin’s over Martin Truex Jr. in the season-opening Daytona 500. It was the closest finish in the Phoenix track’s history.

It was also the 500th race start for Harvick in the NASCAR series.

Harvick and Edwards were on the front row on a late restart that forced the race’s overtime. Edwards, who had fresh tires, got to the side of Harvick and their cars banged together before Harvick won by inches.

“I wanted to straighten it and get back into the throttle before the end,” said Harvick, who won his first race of the season.

“I didn’t want to wreck him,” Edwards said. “I ran into him as hard as I could without wrecking him, then it became a drag race.”

Hamlin was third, with pole-winner Kyle Busch fourth. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led several laps earlier in the race, was fifth.

Harvick has been dominant at the one-mile (1.6-kilometer) track in the Arizona desert, about 15 miles from Phoenix. He’s won seven times at Phoenix and had a four-race victory streak snapped last November when he finished second to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a rain-shortened race.

Harvick’s consecutive-starts streak is third longest among active drivers (Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman are both at 507) and tied with Darrell Waltrip at 14th on the all-time list (Jeff Gordon leads with 797).

Harvick, a career Chevy driver, said he’s not planning any kind of career change next season, when Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) switches to Ford.

“I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t happen,” Harvick said of staying at SHR. “For me I’m in the best position that I’ve been in with my team. I feel like I have the best crew chief [Rodney Childers] in the garage. It would be pretty tough to turn around and walk out on everybody who has been a part of building everything that we have built so far.”

TNS

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