HARVICK WINS ADVOCARE 500
The leader board got shuffled so often that the fans must have thought that it was malfunctioning. Fans in the sold out grandstand saw a race filled with interesting pit strategies and 13 different race leaders.
The biggest shake up came during the last lap when leader Carl Edwards ran out of fuel halfway around the track and Kevin Harvick came up from second place to take the checkered flag.
“I really wasn’t expecting that,” said Harvick as he happily celebrated the last minute victory in his No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet.
Harvick scored his fourth career Sprint Cup win at Phoenix to tie Jimmie Johnson for the most victories at PIR. Encompassing all NASCAR series, Harvick has had nine race victories, making him the winningest driver in NASCACR at PIR. The victory also gave team owner Richard Childress his 200th win across all NASCAR series.
The other big winner of the race was the Sprint Cup series-leading driver, Johnson, who finished in third place in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and picked up 21 points on Matt Kenseth, who settled for 23rd as he struggled with the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota's handling. Johnson will need to finish in 23rd place or better next week claiming his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.
"We're heading into Homestead in the position we want to be in," said Johnson, who is on pace for the best average finish in the history of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Pit stops and varying strategy kept the field in constant flux throughout the day of alternating sun and clouds. But none of the successes or blunders matched the ill-fated refueling process that Edwards' team executed under tense green flag conditions 63 laps from the end. A full load of gas ordinarily would take a race car at least 75 laps, so the miscue cost the No. 99 Fastenal Ford team badly. Edwards coasted home in 21st position, coming within less than a mile of becoming the third driver to sweep both Sprint Cup races at PIR in a season.
The AdvoCare 500 wrapped up the 49th season for Phoenix International Raceway, the 2014 season will feature a myriad of exciting promotions to celebrate the track’s golden anniversary. PIR will drop the green flag on its 50th Anniversary season with another NASCAR weekend from February 28-March 2, 2014.