Kevin Harvick’s dominance continues; cruises to Las Vegas victory (VIDEO)


Kevin Harvick’s torrid streak continued with his victory in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It marks the reigning champion’s sixth consecutive top-two finish, dating back to last season.

The last time a driver scored six consecutive top-two finishes was Jeff Gordon in 1996.

“Those guys are on another level as far as speed is concerned,” fifth-place finisher Denny Hamlin said about Harvick’s car.

Harvick had the dominant car, rallying from his 18th starting spot. He became the seventh different winner in the last seven Sprint Cup races at Las Vegas.

“It’s so cool to win here in Las Vegas and to start this West Coast swing off this way is pretty awesome,’’ Harvick said after his 29th career Sprint Cup victory.Martin Truex Jr. placed second with Ryan Newman third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell back late to fourth.

MORE: Three thoughts on Sunday’s race.

For as good as Harvick’s car was throughout the race, the finish was not easy.

“It got to be a handful there at the end,’’ he said. “For whatever reason we got really, really loose the last run. Tires started vibrating and we were just kind of hanging on.’’

He did for his first victory of the season.

How Kevin Harvick won: He had the best car and led the most laps. Had Jimmie Johnson made it to the end, maybe he could have challenged Harvick but Harvick clearly was the dominant car.

Who else had a good day: Martin Truex Jr.’s runner-up finish gives him three consecutive top-10 finishes to open the season, something he didn’t do last year with Furniture Row Racing. AJ Allmendinger’s sixth-place finish followed his seventh-place result last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Who had a bad day: Jimmie Johnson was strong early but had to pit for a loose wheel. Things got worse when he had a tire blow, sending him into the wall with less than 100 laps left. He came back and had another tire go down before hitting the wall. That second incident sent him to the garage. He placed 41st. … Carl Edwards was in top five when contact with Kasey Kahne sent Kahne into the wall. Kahne bounced into Edwards in Turn 1, causing Edwards to spin. Kahne continued, Edwards went to the garage. Edwards took the blame for triggering the incident. Edwards finished 42nd. Kahne was 17th.

Quote of the day: “That was a poorly executed race on my behalf,” Joey Logano said after placing 10th. “I didn’t do a good job. I did a good job of screwing up anytime I could. The speeding on pit road – I found that. I put us in a hole. Not that we were going to win the race either way because we weren’t fast enough but I maybe cost us two or three positions with what I did.”

Notables: Tony Stewart again struggled and was never a factor throughout the race, finishing 33rd. … Jeff Gordon fought back from starting in the rear with his backup car but had more bad luck. Gordon damaged the nose of his car when he ran into the back of Jeb Burton’s car. Still, Gordon finished a season-high 18th.

Post-race inspection: NASCAR announced that the No. 51 car of Justin Allgaier (finished 31st) came across the scales after the race too light. NASCAR found some weight on the track and will check to see if it came from Allgaier’s car.

What’s next: The series heads to Phoenix International Raceway next weekend. Kevin Harvick swept both races there last year.




NASCAR weekend schedule at World Wide Technology Raceway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.