Kevin Harvick knew what he had to do to lock his team into the final four to compete for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, he had to win.
Harvick did not only win the race at Phoenix, he dominated. He led 264 of the 312 lap race to advance into the Championship Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
“I could tell that we were going to have to win because everybody was running in the front of the pack that we were racing against,” said Harvick. “I think this says a lot about our team. We had our backs against the wall. We’re in victory lane and we get to go on.”
Jeff Gordon finished second at Phoenix, and was in position to move on to the Championship Round of the Chase until the final lap. Ryan Newman made a desperate move on Kyle Larson going to the checkered flag that put his team into the final round and knocked Gordon out of the Chase.
Despite the disappointment, Gordon said he had no issue with Newman’s last lap move under Larson. “It was acceptable last week, it’s acceptable this week. I mean, don’t think that it’s not going to come back to you. I mean, I could have taken out Harvick, too, to make it in, but I didn’t.”
Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Newman and Harvick, who have all won at Kansas Speedway, will compete for the championship next weekend at Homestead. The rules are simple for the drivers still in contention – the driver with the best finish in Homestead will be crowned the 2014 champion.
Don’t miss the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. CT, watch live on ESPN and listen live on Motor Racing Network.