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Harvick’s Quest for 10th Phoenix Win Comes Up Short

Kevin Harvick extends his top-10 streak at Phoenix to 20 after Sunday’s Cup race. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

Kevin Harvick and Phoenix Raceway go like bread and butter.

Sunday’s United Rentals Work United 500 was no different as Harvick’s No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang had another strong showing.

Mainly, Harvick got past Kyle Larson late in the race during green flag conditions, pulling away by nearly three and a half seconds. A 10th career win at Phoenix was imminent until it was not when Harrison Burton spun on the frontstretch, bringing out a caution on Lap 303.

Therefore, pit stops was crucial as Harvick’s crew looked to dethrone Larson again. However, strategy became the word of the race.

Larson was among six drivers who opted for two tires whereas Harvick had all four of his tires changed, dropping him to seventh on the restart.

A shot at another Phoenix glory waned on the pending restart.

Following Harvick’s strong run into Turn 3, he was denied by Ross Chastain, who hurt his momentum. Harvick would have another chance following a three-car collision involving AJ Allmendinger and rookies Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs, forcing the 312-lap race into overtime.

On the final restart, Harvick wasn’t able to amount a charge on the racers who opted for two tires as William Byron went on to score his second consecutive victory of 2023.

Harvick managed to pass Christopher Bell to place fifth in his penultimate race in Arizona.

As a result of finishing fifth, it’s Harvick’s 19th top-five at Phoenix which extends the all-time record at the circuit. Additionally, Harvick’s streak of finishing in the top-10 in Arizona is now at 20 as Spring 2013 remains the last time he finished outside the top-10.

However, Harvick wasn’t smiling much after getting out of his Mustang knowing a win was in the cards. Harvick admitted that in spite of the shortcoming of going for four instead of two, he would’ve kept on with such strategy citing that he’d always rather play offense. But the penultimate restart snakebite¬†his chances of victory.

Burton’s issues dashed Harvick’s sizeable lead over Kyle Larson late in the race. (Photo: Michael Donohue | The Podium Finish)

“I just didn’t get a couple cars when that first caution came out. Kind of lost our chance. Still thought I had a chance there at the end. Those cars were quite a bit slower. They get all jammed up,” said Harvick, who led 36 laps.

“That’s the way it goes. Just smoked ’em up until the caution. They did a great job with our Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang. Didn’t need the caution at the end.”

After four races, Harvick currently has the second most amount of points, trailing Alex Bowman by three points going into Atlanta Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the Ambetter Health 400 begins Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX where Byron won last year’s spring race.

Throughout my young motorsports media career, my number-one goal is to be a personnel that can be flexible with my writing and photography in the world of NASCAR, INDYCAR and ARCA. Content delivery is vital because this is my main passion and what keeps me going. I've dealt with several challenges in my life, such as autism and making most out of trips despite relying on transportation. Even my quest of finding acceptance in my profession which has been my biggest challenge since graduating from college in 2016. Despite those hurdles with Motorsports Tribune and now The Podium Finish, I promise that you'll see excellence with my content. With two National Motorsports Press Association photography awards, I'm not slowing down anytime soon. Outside of media, I'm super vocal about my musical tastes that goes from Metallica to HAIM. Not only that, expect my social media filled with references nobody will understand, especially Licorice Pizza.

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