Kevin Harvick wins third straight NASCAR race

Another eyepopping difference will be the new grandstand structure to coincide with the relocated start  finish line

Harvick, 42, ran at the old Mesa Marin Speedway (which was also in Bakersfield) in the West Series as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the former NASCAR Southwest Series. Which in some ways made for an uneven playing field Sunday afternoon.

NASCAR star Kevin Harvick won his third straight race Sunday after taking first place in the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway in Avondale.

Rodgers, who went on to win two K&N races later in the season, will be a teammate of Harvick's in Thursday night's race at Kern County. "This organization does a great job and we got fast cars". And to take that away from those guys just really [ticked] me off last week.

Don't look now, but all three Penske drivers are in the top seven in points.

Kyle Busch won the first 75-lap stage, and brother Kurt Busch took the second in a one-lap shootout after a caution period. He also lost the playoff points he had earned during the race. "The reason that we lose a lot of those fans is because a lot of those race tracks disappear". But he was the class of the field late in the race in winning for the seventh time in the past 12 Phoenix races. We didn't stomp them, but we won. It's just cool. That some of that- sometimes that stuff is just enough to really make, you know, make the team mad and give them enough a little extra fuel to lay it to everybody. "It put a fire in our belly". [It's big] to drive it home for all those supporters out there. It often doesn't take much.

"That's probably what I'm most proud of", owner Tony Stewart said.

Plus, there was little argument the auto violated the rules at Las Vegas.

To that point, Harvick said Sunday felt like a playoff race.

"Man, it was a heck of a battle", Childers said. Busch's team had trouble with the right rear tire on his stop with 53 laps left, allowing Harvick - who pitted three laps earlier - to slip ahead en route to his 40th Cup victory.

Defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. started from the pole, followed by the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. "Kevin and Rodney don't need motivation".

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- And maybe to the competition a little bit too, I got to believe. The championship certainly pays better and creates more lasting memories, but Harvick had that bullheaded attitude of not going to be denied. His post-race penalty at Vegas notwithstanding, Harvick has been untouchable for the better part of a month. "Our team is very good at setting those things aside for 10 weeks during the Playoffs".

If history tells us anything, though, it's that winning four races in a row is really freaking hard, and more than that darn near impossible. Those are the moments that you just love to live in and be a part of and succeed in.

"How many appeals have you seen overturned?" he explained. Still, there's nothing for the 18 bunch to hang their heads over, because an argument could definitely be made that they had the fastest auto at times at Phoenix, which wasn't the case the previous two weeks.

After saying Friday that he would jump up and down on the back of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford if he won, Harvick simply patted the back window in a nod to social media photos of his buckled rear window in Las Vegas.

"Everything inside the vehicle quit", Bowman said.

As Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the NASCAR America gang pointed out, you don't usually see the 42 go around on its own like it did at ISM Raceway, and it's pretty clear Larson just isn't as comfortable in his Camaro as he was with his SS at this time previous year.

Harvick clearly enjoyed the moment.

With this penalty, Harvick was very vocal about his displeasure for the reaction from the NASCAR community.

"There's not many things that you can do to showcase character".

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