Kevin Harvick kicked off NASCAR’s West Coast swing by dominating the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. With this win and second place finishes in the first two races of 2015, Harvick’s finished either first or second in the last six Sprint Cup races, dating back to the final three race of the 2014 season.
The 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion led a race-high 142 of the race’s 267 on the way to claiming his first win in Sin City.
“Man, it’s so cool to win here at Las Vegas,” Harvick said on the Fox Sports broadcast. “To start this West Coast swing off this way is pretty awesome.”
Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. continued to impress by finishing second, the third consecutive top 10 finish for the single car team out of Denver, Colorado. Truex Jr. is only two top 10 finishes away from matching his 2014 total, when he finished with five top 10’s.
Ryan Newman, the 2014 series runner-up, finished third for his first top five of 2015. Dale Earnhardt Jr. contended for the lead all day and ended up fourth, continuing his run of consecutive top five finishes to begin 2015. Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
Jeff Gordon’s string of bad luck to begin his farewell season continued on Saturday and Sunday. After setting a new track record and winning the pole on Friday, Gordon was forced to move to the rear of the field to start the race after switching to his backup car. Gordon wrecked his primary car when Danica Patrick got loose and collected him at the end of Saturday’s practice.
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) March 7, 2015
Gordon methodically worked his way through the field on Sunday and reached the top 10 before a lap 173 incident when Atlanta winner Jimmie Johnson blew a tire two spots ahead of Gordon. Gordon was making a move to pass Jeb Burton and was unaware of what happened to Johnson. Burton checked up to avoid Johnson and Gordon ran into back of Burton. Gordon received significant front end damage, virtually ending his chance to compete for a top 10. Gordon finished 18th, one lap down. With another poor finish to go along with the wrecks at Daytona and Atlanta, Gordon is 30th in the points standings.
“Man, we were coming,” Gordon told Fox Sports. “Great effort, just can’t believe the way these days are going.”
Sunday’s race was mostly trouble free. The only cautions for accidents were two for Johnson’s blown tires on laps 173 and 187, and a lap 195 incident involving Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards. The final 69 laps were caution-free, the longest green flag run of the race.
A.J. Allmendinger finished sixth. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano rounded out the top 10.
The series will be in Phoenix next week for the CampingWorld.com 500 at 3:30 p.m. EST, March 15, on Fox.
Top 16 standings after race 3 of 26: