Kevin Harvick overcomes early flat, claims final Championship 4 berth
Kevin Harvick took an adventuresome path to the final Championship 4 slot, rallying from a flat tire early on to claim a fifth-place finish Sunday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Harvick advanced by 28 points, but faced his biggest threat from Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola, who finished fourth in a last-ditch bid to convert in a must-win scenario. Harvick will join race winner Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. in the race for the Monster Energy Series title next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Harvick started from the Busch Pole and led the opening 72 laps of Sunday’s Can-Am 500. But a flat tire just three laps before the end of Stage 1 sent the SHR No. 4 Ford to pit road and dropped him to 30th in the running order, one lap down.
Harvick returned to the lead lap as the beneficiary of the second caution period of the day, then methodically worked back into contention. He also drove away after Lap 239 contact with the No. 38 Ford of David Ragan.
Harvick was hampered by a midweek L1-level penalty for an unapproved spoiler after last weekend’s win for the No. 4 team at Texas Motor Speedway. That infraction cost him an automatic berth in the championship field and reduced his edge in the standings by 40 points, leaving him with just a three-point cushion entering Sunday’s race.
This story will be updated.
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