NASCAR At Phoenix: Harvick wins wild Advocare 500K
In the wildest race of the 2012 Sprint Cup campaign - one that saw the point leader crash and a brawl between two rival teams - it was Kevin Harvick who got his first win of the 2012 campaign. Brad Keselowski finished 6th and took over the point lead
13Total Updates since November 9, 2012
Do you want major updates to this story in your Facebook News Feed?
In the wildest race of the 2012 Sprint Cup campaign - one that saw the point leader crash and a brawl between two rival teams - it was Kevin Harvick who got his first win of the 2012 campaign. Brad Keselowski finished sixth and took over the point lead with a race remaining.
In one of the most pathetic moves in our sport's recent history, Jeff Gordon intentionally hooked Clint Bowyer into the wall as a payback for a light bit of rubbing that ended up putting Gordon's Chevrolet into the wall.
Joey Logano and Aric Almirola were also involved in the crash.
After the Gordon got to the garage area, Bowyer's crew converged upon the 24 team and triggered a free-for-all between the two teams. Bowyer then leaped from his wrecked machine and bounded like a man possessed to the No. 24 hauler and tried to get at Gordon who was safely inside as the crews re-converged for more pushing, name calling, questioning of one another's ancestry, and what have you.
The crash occurred as Kevin Harvick was closing in on the white flag, but he was not quite across the line before the caution came out. Harvick will have to go through one more restart to get his first win of the 2012 season.
Jimmie Johnson's dream of a sixth Sprint Cup championship may have just ended on the 235th lap of the Advocare 500K at the Phoenix International Raceway. His right front tire blew and sent his No. 48 Chevrolet slamming into the wall exiting turn four. Johnson's machine is now on its way to the garage for repairs. to heavy damage on its right front corner and right side door area.
It is a stunning turn of events which has quite possibly ruined Johnson's bid to win his sixth title in the last seven years.
At the time of Johnson's crash, Brad Keselowski had just overhauled Kyle Busch in a tremendous duel for the lead. Kevin Harvick ran second ahead of Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin.
If Keselowski can avoid a similar fate to that which has befallen Johnson, he very well may be on his way to claiming the championship in his third full season of Sprint Cup competition.
Kyle Busch has his No. 18 Camry back in the lead at the Phoenix International Raceway with 200 laps complete in the Advocare 500K. Busch, who dominated early on, had relinquished command to teammate Denny Hamlin and dropped to fifth, but he retook the lead on the most recent restart at lap 174 to re-establish his control of a race weekend that has seen his No. 18 atop the leaderboard at the end of every on-track session this weekend.
Ryan Newman, who did not pit under the last caution, runs second, followed by title hopeful Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer. Hamlin's two-tire stop during the last yellow period from which Busch (also on two fresh left side tires) retook the lead has not agreed with him, as he is back to sixth.
Jimmie Johnson holds down the seventh spot and has yet to lead a lap today. Kasey Kahne runs eighth, followed by Paul Menard in another terrific run for Richard Childress's No. 27 team and Jeff Gordon.
A Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry leads the Advocare 500K at the Phoenix International Raceway. That part of the story has not changed. What has changed is that it is no longer Kyle Busch's yellow M&Ms No. 18 out front, but rather the black and green FedEx Ground machine of Denny Hamlin.
A win for car No. 11 on 11/11, perhaps?
Hamlin, who won at PIR on the first weekend of March, shows the way at the midpoint of today's race, with Richard Childress Racing driver Paul Menard running second. Busch sits third after leading 111 laps, with Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon rounding out the top-five.
Kasey Kahne runs sixth, followed by Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson, and Clint Bowyer.
The cat-and-mouse games played by Johnson and Keselowski's teams last week have continued this week. Keselowski stretched his fuel on the most recent cycle of pit stops in order to keep Johnson from leading a lap. In Texas last Sunday, it was Johnson who stayed on track a few extra laps to stop Keselowski from getting a bonus point, though Keselowski later did and nearly beat Johnson in the race.
After a dominant weekend that has seen him lead every Sprint Cup practice session and win the pole for today's Advocare 500K, it is no surprise that Kyle Busch has dominated the opening stages of the 312-lapper around the Phoenix International Raceway. The Joe Gibbs Racing pilot has led 73 of 80 laps as he looks for his second win of what has been a trying 2012 campaign.
Busch, who won this race in 2005, currently leads teammate Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, Mark Martin, and Aric Almirola, who is having yet another terrific run in Richard Petty's No. 43.
Defending race winner Kasey Kahne runs sixth, ahead of Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, and championship hopeful Brad Keselowski.
Burton's run is incredible, considering that he has already crashed twice this weekend. After he wrecked his backup car Saturday, the No. 31 team had to repair the car they had planned to race before Burton put it in the fence during the opening practice of the weekend.
Championship point leader Jimmie Johnson currently runs 13th, up 11 spots from his 24th-place starting spot.
Martin Truex Jr. started second in the Advocare 500K at the Phoenix International Raceway, but he dropped to ninth after nearly crashing on the very first lap.
Bigger problems have befallen the No. 56 Toyota, sponsored by Atlanta-based NAPA Auto Parts, however. Truex's car suddenly lost speed and began to gradually slow further and further. Finally at lap 11, Truex brought the stricken Camry to the attention of his MWR crew. It is a disappointing blow to Truex's hopes of winning a race before the 2012 campaign closes out.
Kyle Busch had led every lap from the pole when the opening yellow of the race flew on lap 18 for a crash by Mike Bliss Bliss tried to slide up in front of Timmy Hill on the backstretch kink, the pair connected, and Bliss's Toyota slapped the wall hard before grinding to a halt. Denny Hamlin, who won the February race at PIR, is second followed by defending race champ Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard and Aric Almirola.
Sprint Cup star Carl Edwards makes his 300th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday's Advocare 500K at the Phoenix International Raceway. The Missouri native has seen his share of highs and lows as a top-level stock car racer.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series enters its penultimate weekend of the 2012 season with the running of Sunday's Advocare 500K at the Phoenix International Raceway. Kasey Kahne won last year's race, while Denny Hamlin triumphed at PIR in February.