By Tom Zulewski
Iron County Today
LAS VEGAS — In the world of NASCAR, drivers have had stretches of dominance from week to week.
For the second week in a row, Kevin Harvick took domination on the race track to the next level.
The 42-year-old driver for Stewart-Haas Racing led 214 of 267 laps and won the Pennzoil 400 on March 4 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by nearly three seconds over runner-up Kyle Busch. Harvick was so good in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford, only nine cars finished on the lead lap.
“It’s been a lot of great years with a lot of great race teams, people and situations,” said Harvick, who won his 39th career Cup race and his 100th across the three national series. “You’ve won some you should, and you’ve won some you shouldn’t. When you tag the triple-digit number to it, it lets you realize you’ve been fortunate to accomplish a lot of things.
“It’s been fun, but for me, the last five years have been the most fun.”
Crew chief Rodney Childers said that even with the unpredictable nature provided by each track, his driver made the tasks required for success that much easier to accomplish.
“You never know going into a season if it’s going to be good or bad, whether you’re behind, ahead, or whatever the case may be,” Childers said. “I figured we would come here and really see what we had. I was impressed from the first lap he made on Friday.”
Harvick had a full share of good times on the 1.5-mile oval as he led 147 of the first 163 laps. Busch had issues with his car early, but knew the mission of catching the 4 car was next to impossible.
“We didn’t have it early on, just super, super loose,” Busch said. “On long runs, our car would come to life and be super fast. I would have loved to run down the 4 and put on a race, but they were the class of the field all day long. No one was keeping up with them.”
Kyle Larson followed up his win in the XFINITY Series Boyd Gaming 300 with a third-place finish in the Credit One Bank No. 42 Chevrolet.
“Our car was fast, but nowhere near Harvick’s level,” Larson said. “Most of the day, we were second- or third-best, and I was pretty happy with that.”
Defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney completed he top five finishers. There were four cautions —only two for on-track incidents — that took up 29 laps, and the winning average speed was 141.756 mph.
Harvick also set a new record for most laps led by a race winner at LVMS. Truex Jr. had set the previous mark in 2017 with 150.
Through three races, Harvick leads the points by three over Joey Logano and four over Blaney.
Kevin Harvick talks with the media as crew chief Rodney Childers, left, and team owner Tony Stewart look on after Harvick won the Pennzoil 400 on March 4 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.