Kevin Harvick edges Carl Edwards in photo finish for eighth Phoenix win

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In an overtime shootout, Kevin Harvick beat Carl Edwards by a hundredth of a second after making contact multiple times coming to the checkered flag in the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The eighth victory for Harvick at the 1-mile track represented the closest margin of victory at PIR since the advent of electronic monitoring and scoring.

The final shootout was set up with Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Austin Dillon as the only cars to not pit following a Kasey Kahne crash.

After restarting fourth behind Harvick on Lap 312 with fresh right-side tires, Edwards’ final effort to earn the win started by getting under Harvick in the final corners.

“That was not the car that I wanted to see behind me,” Harvick told Fox. “I knew I could beat him (in Turns 1 and 2). I tried to protect the bottom in (Turns) 3 and 4, and I just missed the bottom with all the rubber buildup on the tires and everything.”

After pulling even on the inside, Edwards side-drafted Harvick, making contact once. Harvick returned the favor, causing enough separation to put his bumper ahead of Edward’s.

“I should have wrecked him!” Edwards joked with Fox. “But we were faster and I thought ‘I’ll just move him out of the way and get by.’ I just didn’t move him far enough. Then he got up to (my) door and I was trying to time it (and thought) ‘I think he’s going to beat me’ so I tried to side swipe him, but I needed to be in front of his front tire.”

Harvick led twice for a race-high 139 laps on the way to his first win of the season. It’s the No. 4 team’s first win since the fall Dover race last year.

It was the 23rd time Harvick has led the most laps in a race since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, but only the eighth time it translated into a win for the No. 4 team.

“It’s just one of those places where I feel like I’ve been here enough times to where I can move around and find something to make our car work,” Harvick said. “We struggled a lot this weekend to get the balance where we wanted to, but we knew the feel that we were looking for.”

The top five was Harvick, Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Earnhardt.

MORE: Race results for the Good Same 500

MORE: Points standings

HOW KEVIN HARVICK WON: Harvick led the final 79 laps, which included one overtime lap after a late caution, as he fended off Carl Edwards and his two fresh tires in a photo finish.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Denny Hamlin bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty to finish third for his best result since winning the Dayton 500 … pole-sitter Kyle Busch finished fourth for his eighth straight top-five finish … Dale Earnhardt Jr. started 26th but was in the lead by Lap 75, where he stayed for 34 laps. Earnhardt was second on the final restart, before quickly falling back to fifth on old tires .. After three frustrating weeks, Matt Kenseth quietly earned his first top-10 finish by placing seventh … Matt DiBenedetto finished 20th, one lap down. The BK Racing driver’s career best result is 18th.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Goodyear and its right-side tires. The Richard Childress Racing entries of Ryan Newman and Paul Menard hit the Turn 3 wall on laps 53 and 105 respectively as a result of a melted tire bead from brake heat. … Ricky Stenhouse Jr.‘s car also was a victim when the No. 17 went into the Turn 1 wall on Lap 163.  …  With 86 laps to go, Brad Keselowski lost his right-rear tire, but did not hit the wall. Debris from the No. 2 brought out the fourth caution. Keselowski finished 29th …. A melted bead sent Kasey Kahne into the Turn 4 wall to bring out the final caution. Kahne finished 22nd, one lap down.

NOTABLE: Rookies Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney both finished in the top 10 for the second time this season.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We had an awesome car and that’s three weeks in a row I’ve enjoyed the hell out of driving it.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. after finishing fifth.

NEXT: Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on March 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET

NASCAR fines seven crew chiefs for lug nut violations at Las Vegas

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NASCAR announced Tuesday it has fined seven crew chiefs for lug nut violations from the Cup and Xfinity races this past weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,

In the Cup Series, NASCAR issued fines to crew chiefs Matt McCall (Kurt Busch), Greg Erwin (Matt DiBenedetto) and Seth Barbour (John Hunter Nemechek) for having one lug nut not safe and secure on their cars. Each crew chief was fined $10,000.

In the Xfinity Series, NASCAR fined crew chiefs Bruce Schlicker (Ross Chastain), Dave Rogers (Riley Herbst), Ben Beshore (Harrison Burton) and Brian Wilson (Austin Cindric) for having one lug nut not safe and secure on their cars. Each crew chief was fined $5,000.

 

Chad Knaus to move off pit box for executive role at Hendrick

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Chad Knaus, whose success as a crew chief is nearly unparalleled in NASCAR, will step down from that role after this season and move into a leadership position at Hendrick Motorsports, the team announced Tuesday.

Knaus will become vice president of competition. He will oversee technical development for Hendrick Motorsports, including implantation of the Next Gen car in 2022. He also will be responsible for personnel for each of the four teams, including crew chiefs, pit crews, engineering, fabrication, assembly and other team-related staff.

Knaus won seven championships as Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief. Only Hall of Fame crew chief Dale Inman won more titles. Inman won eight, scoring seven with Richard Petty and one with Terry Labonte. Knaus has 82 career Cup wins. All but one came with Johnson. William Byron scored his first career Cup win in August at Daytona with Knaus as his crew chief. Byron was eliminated from the playoffs last weekend. The 49-year-old Knaus is the only crew chief to have competed in NASCAR’s postseason all 17 years.

Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus before the 2005 Coca-Cola 600. They combined to win that event four times.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

“When I started at Hendrick Motorsports (in 1993) working for Ray Evernham, my goal was to be a crew chief,” Knaus said in a statement from the team. “Starting at a young age, I wanted to win every race we entered and battle for every championship.

“Mr. (Rick) Hendrick has given me the chance to do exactly that, and I could not be more thankful to him. After all these years, my competitive desire has not changed at all, but now I have a family that deserves my attention. This new executive role will allow me to compete in a different way with all four of our teams while spending more time with my wife and two young children.

“I appreciate the company supporting my decision, and I’m truly excited about the challenge ahead of me to help us grow and win. I’m also looking forward to working closely with Jeff (Andrews), who I admire and have great respect for. I owe so much to Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, and I’m ready for the next chapter.”

Knaus and his wife Brooke welcomed a baby girl July 30. Vivienne Mae Knaus is the couple’s second child. Son Kipling was born in 2018.

A new crew chief for Byron will be announced at a later date.

Chad Knaus, car owner Rick Hendrick and Jimmie Johnson displaying their rings after Johnson claimed the 2013 Daytona 500. (Photo by John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)

“In life, it’s rare to witness true excellence first-hand, but that’s precisely what we’ve been treated to with Chad,” Hendrick said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is bittersweet because, in my opinion, he is the finest crew chief our sport has ever seen.

“Although we’re going to miss him atop the pit box, I’m heartened that Chad has made this decision for himself and his growing family and that he is energized about the opportunity to move us forward in a new capacity. There is no one with higher standards or a stronger passion for winning. He will continue to elevate Hendrick Motorsports and instill his championship mentality throughout the company.”

Knaus served two races as crew chief for Casey Atwood in 2000 and then did one race for Stacy Compton that season. In 2001, Knaus was paired with Compton. Knaus rejoined Hendrick Motorsports to be Johnson’s crew chief in 2002. They remained together until 2019 when Knaus moved to Byron’s team.   

Knaus will report to Andrews, 55, who has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager, effective immediately.

Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus celebrate their seventh NASCAR Cup championship after winning the 2016 season finale in Miami. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Andrews joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1992 and most recently served as vice president of competition. He had held that role since 2017.

Previously, Andrews held a leadership position in the team’s engine department, including director of engine operations. In his expanded role, Andrews will oversee all competition-related departments, including powertrain, manufacturing and racing operations. He will continue to support the organization’s technical relationship with Chevrolet and remain its primary liaison with NASCAR’s competition group. Andrews reports to Hendrick Motorsports president Marshall Carlson.

“In my almost 29-year NASCAR career, I’ve been fortunate to work for just one organization,” Andrews said in a statement from the team. “Mr. Hendrick is a racer and a fierce competitor. His drive to win is contagious, and I’m grateful to have a team of like-minded people who share that passion. Racing is all I have ever done professionally. When I left my home and my family 33 years ago to pursue this dream, I never could have imagined the opportunities that have been provided by so many people, most importantly Mr. Hendrick.”

Said Hendrick in a statement: “As we look to the years ahead, Jeff and Chad are going to play significant roles in our success. They’re tremendous leaders who are respected within our organization and across the entire auto racing world. In addition, they each bring unique strengths and skillsets that will complement each other extremely well and benefit all of Hendrick Motorsports. We’re in the business of winning, and this combination is going to help us do just that.”

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick still No. 1 after quiet Vegas

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Kevin Harvick didn’t have a flashy night Sunday in Las Vegas, but it didn’t keep him from retaining the No. 1 spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

After winning the Bristol night race, Harvick finished in the top 10 in the first two stages in Vegas before placing 10th at race’s end.

Kurt Busch’s win at his home track vaulted him into the top 10 as 12 drivers received votes.

More: Playoff standings after Las Vegas

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): In the last eight races he’s won three times and finished outside the top 10 only twice.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 5): Placed fourth for his 11th top-five finish in the last 14 races.

3. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked): Finished fifth for his second top five and fifth top-10 finish in the last six races.

4. Denny Hamlin (Last week unranked): Left Vegas with a third-place finish to snap a three-race streak of finishing outside the top 10.

5. Kurt Busch (Last week unranked): Snapped a 46-race winless streak with his victory and advanced to the Round of 8.

6. Kyle Busch (Last week No. 3): Finished sixth after a “dismal” night. He has four consecutive top 10s.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5): Finished 13th to give him two finishes outside the top 10 since he won at Richmond.

8. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Opened the Xfinity playoffs with his second consecutive win.

8. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 2): Led 73 laps, but had to settle for a 22nd-place finish in Vegas.

8. Joey Logano (Last week No. 3): Finished 14th for his second straight finish outside the top 10.

Also receiving votes: Erik Jones and Chris Buescher.

NASCAR announces changes to Kansas playoff weekend

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Citing “programming changes,” NASCAR announced shifts in the race dates and start times for its visit next month to Kansas Speedway.

The Xfinity, ARCA and Truck Series races have been shifted, while the Cup race remains at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 18.

The biggest move is the Truck Series race shifting from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Here are the changes.

Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ETARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ETTruck Series on FOX (previously Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET Xfinity on NBCSN (previously 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)