HARVICK WINS ADVOCARE 500
The race was thrown into overtime when a caution period occurred a split second before the white flag was to wave. Instead of freezing the field and ending the race with Harvick as the winner in the regulation 312 laps, a red flag was displayed for 14 minutes and 58 seconds to clean a wreck that included four cars. It also extended the event to 319 laps.
Slow-running Jeff Gordon, who was being black-flagged for running less than the required minimum speed, was driving in the race groove in turn four and ended up at the focal point of the controversial crash. Seventh-running Clint Bowyer, the third place championship runner still clinging to faint title hopes, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola crashed with Gordon split seconds before new leader Harvick reached the start-finish line. That angered Bowyer's crew which took after Gordon's team in a heated skirmish in the garage.
It also threw the sellout Phoenix International Raceway crowd into a frenzy. Emotions grew wilder moments later when multiple cars wrecked as they took the checkered flag that came seven laps after the scheduled 312 circuits.
With the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in its closing stages, all eyes at the day's beginning were on upstart Brad Keselowski who started seven points behind five-time champion Jimmie Johnson in the season's penultimate race. When Johnson cut his right front tire on lap 235 his Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet suffered suspension damage when it hit the turn 1 wall. He finished 32nd, 38 laps down, and fell 20 points behind Keselowski in the championship hunt. One race remains next week, and Keselowski needs only to finish 15th, regardless of Johnson's performance, to clinch his first title.
Most of the sunny afternoon was spent focusing on the taillights of Busch, who led by far the most laps with 237. "It (his pole-sitting no. 18 M&M's Toyota) was an awsome piece, and I gave the race away," he said forlornly. "I guess I didn't know how to win it."
Keselowski barely made it past the Gordon-Bowyer wreck on his way to a sixth place finish, saying, "I thought I was going to wreck, so I just hoped I could bounce off the walls and make it back to the start-finish line." While the new points leader was bitterly angry over what he considered late-race retaliation by some drivers, he joked about the good luck he received when Johnson hit the wall: "I'm sure maybe five years from now, if I end up winning this thing (the title), there will be somebody saying 'Remember Phoenix, when such-and-such laid down thumbtacks and blew out Jimmie's tire?'"
Race winner Harvick, who claimed his first checkered flag this season and third in 20 races at P.I.R., also offered a light touch when commenting on the fisticuffs between the Bowyer and Gordon teams: "Fights? This sport was made on fights. We ought to have more fights."
The next exciting race weekend at P.I.R. will take place in the second week of the 2013 NASCAR season when the Subway Fresh 500 headlines the March 1-3 weekend.
Related PIR News
Phoenix International Raceway and NASCAR have announced that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500, scheduled for Sunday, March 15, will kick off at 12:30 p.m. MST, while the NASCAR XFINITY Series race is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST on Saturday, March 14. Both races will broadcast live on FOX. The Toyota 120 NASCAR Mexico Series Race on Friday, March 13, is set for 7 p.m. MST on NBC Universo.
In an effort to enrich communication with fans, Phoenix International Raceway launched a new design for its website, PhoenixRaceway.com, to kick off the 2015 season. Featuring a data-driven, more engaging user experience, the new site includes a crisp, vibrant design as well as streamlined navigation and enhanced fan content.
Kevin Harvick drove his No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet car to Gatorade Victory Lane in Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, but the race itself was a winner for Phoenix International Raceway. The track sold out of grandstand seats a week before the race and sold out of reserved camping spots more than two months early.
Kevin Harvick dominated Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, leading 264 of the 312 laps in his No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet on the way to Gatorade Victory Lane to conclude Phoenix International Raceway’s 50th anniversary season. The win clinched a place for Harvick in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Round next Sunday in Miami.
Brad Keselowski, a second-place runner nearly all afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway, flew by Kyle Busch on the beginning of the last lap of an unexpected green-white-checkers finish to steal victory in the DAV 200 Honoring America's Veterans, NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday.