“The Closer” Kevin Harvick has taken the NASCAR scene by storm over the last two weeks dominating at Atlanta last Sunday and leading 214 laps today at Las Vegas winning both stages of the Pennzoil 400 and then taking home the checkered flag in route to his 39th career Cup Series victory and 100th across all three series.
Harvick’s No. 4 Jimmy Johns Ford Fusion lived up to the “Freaky Fast!” motto painted across each quarter panel as he took the lead on lap two from Ryan Blaney and outside of a few spots lost here and there on pit road, never really had competition from the rest of the field on Sunday. Last week, it was all about hooking the yellow line in Atlanta and taking a commanding lead, today it was just one superior car pulling away and lapping the field. Whatever crew chief Rodney Childers found after Daytona, he better hold on to it for the playoffs and the return to several mile and a half tracks.
“Just really proud of everyone on our Jimmy Johns Ford team. Doing a really good job of working on the race cars. These last two weeks we’ve really hit on what we needed to and this stems back to last year when the mile and a half program got so much better. Really proud of everybody,” Harvick said. To say they hit on something is a major understatement as only 9 cars finished the race on the lead lap. Harvick put the field in his rear view from the outset then left them in the dust.
Harvick after he was asked for his thoughts on his 100th career win, “That’s really awesome. It all happened so fast over the last couple of weeks, it really helps you reminisce on all you’ve done in the sport. Last week in Atlanta being able to put some closure on 2001 in Atlanta and now winning 100 races is something that I thought I’d never do. They’re hard to win I can tell you that and I’ve been fortunate to sit in a lot of good race cars,” Harvick concluded.
Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Blaney rounded out the top 5 all running up front and having really solid afternoons. Brad Keselowski had a solid ride too and tried to roll the dice late but fell back to 6th on old tires at the end. Nevertheless, no driver had an answer for the Closer who cleaned up for the second straight week and will look to go for number three for the first time in his career next week at Phoenix, one of his better tracks.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank