Most of the race it looked like Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick would be the cars to battle for the win. Chase led a race high 93 of the 312 scheduled laps at Phoenix Raceway. Kevin led 67 laps and when Chase was out front Kevin was in second place more times than not.
Seven drivers exchanged the lead twenty times during the race. Kevin Harvick was the winner in stage one of the race. Brad Keselowski (who led the second highest laps in the race at 82) was the winner in stage two.
If you have followed racing for any amount of time you know the fastest car does not always win the race. Things like strategy, luck and even timing of cautions can play a role in the outcome of a race. There is plenty of evidence to argue the last played a role in Phoenix.
Six if the 12 caution periods in Sunday’s race came in the last 59 laps of the race. That left drivers and crew chiefs with decisions of pit or stay out and two tires or four tires. Each time the yellow flag waived and pit road opened there was a mixed bag of decisions.
When the final caution flag waived on lap 311 it sent the race to NASCAR’s overtime of a green-white-checkered finish. Joey Logano had the lead for the final restart of the race. Having that control of the race to get the final two laps up to speed was all Joey needed to hold off a hard charging Kevin Harvick for the win.
Kevin claimed a second place finish. Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson finished third and fourth receptively. Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five. see the complete race results for the FanShiled 500 here.
Kevin Harvick did not win the race, however he did come out of Phoenix moving up three spots to the point lead. Joey Logano holds steady in second place in the points. (Joey does lead the Playoff picture as the only driver with two wins so far this year.) Chase Elliott moves back into the top five at #3 in the standings. Alex Bowman slips a spot to fourth with Jimmie Johnson holding station in fifth place for another week. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
By: Buck Stevens