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 Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today that Jennifer Staton has been named Senior Director of Partnership Sales & Marketing. Staton has been with International Speedway Corporation (“ISC”), the parent company of PIR in Daytona Beach, Fla., since 2006.
Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced Ticket Galaxy as the title sponsor of the track’s upcoming November NASCAR XFINITY Series race and as PIR’s official secondary market ticket provider. NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suárez and Ticket Galaxy President Steve Kobelski joined Sperber for the announcement at the Hard Rock Café in Downtown Phoenix on Tuesday. The Ticket Galaxy 200 will serve as the semifinal race in the Chase for NASCAR XFINITY Series title and air on NBC Sports Network in primetime on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. Eastern).
Following the announcement of INDYCAR and the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, Phoenix International Raceway is pleased to announce the return of the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on Saturday, April 29, 2017 under the lights. Phoenix will mark the fourth race of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, with all events on the schedule set to be broadcast by longstanding television partners ABC and NBCSN.
Phoenix International Raceway, through Phoenix Raceway Charities, is spearheading a $500,000 renovation project for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix. The donation marks the largest contribution to date by the organization and is a result of fundraising and commitments generated from Phoenix Raceway’s 50th Anniversary season in 2014.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Austin Dillon threw out the first pitch Tuesday evening before the Arizona Diamondbacks took on the Washington Nationals at Chase Field.