The Latest: Kyle Busch ties Harvick with 8 wins this season
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on NASCAR’s elimination race at ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix (all times local):
Kyle Busch has won for the eighth time this season and set up a head-to-head showdown with Kevin Harvick for NASCAR’s championship.
Busch’s win Sunday at ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix tied him with Harvick for most this year in the Cup Series. The two were the most dominant drivers this season and will race next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title against reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.
Harvick finished fifth to close a week in which his team was penalized for cheating. He started from the pole but had a harder day than expected because of a flat tire early in the race.
Harvick was aided when teammate Kurt Busch was wrecked late in the race, taking Kurt Busch out of the running for a championship berth.
Stewart-Haas Racing had a disastrous sequence that cost two of its drivers a shot at the championship.
Clint Bowyer wrecked during the second stage of Sunday’s race at ISM Raceway. During the caution period for Bowyer’s accident, leader Kurt Busch passed the pace car and was penalized for one lap.
Busch was leading the race when he was penalized. He argued that the pace car was driving slower than pit road speed, and that’s how he passed the car as he ducked off the track.
The penalty on Busch gave the lead to Martin Truex Jr.
Kevin Harvick restarted third.
Championship contender Joey Logano has crashed out of the final warmup race.
Logano is the only driver already qualified for next week’s championship race. He earned his berth by winning at Martinsville three races ago and it allowed him to relax at ISM Raceway. He had nothing on the line and is already looking ahead to the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Seven drivers are racing for the final three slots in the championship round.
Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick has driven through a pack of traffic after falling to 30th and down a lap because of a flat tire. By the time Logano crashed, Harvick had already moved to 19th in the field and back to the lead lap.
A flat tire may have derailed Kevin Harvick’s run to another championship.
Harvick was dominating Sunday’s race and had led every lap until he ducked onto pit road with a sudden flat tire. Harvick led the first 72 laps but dropped to 30th in the field after the issue. He also went down one lap from the leaders.
Chase Elliott won the first stage after inheriting the lead when Harvick had to stop for new tires.
Elliott needs to win at ISM Raceway to advance into the championship round next week.
Kevin Harvick led the field to the start of NASCAR’s final race to set the championship field. The 2014 champion has dominated all weekend at ISM Raceway and is trying to show his team can overcome a cheating scandal and still win the title.
Harvick is a nine-time winner at the track outside of Phoenix and his No. 4 Ford has been the fastest car here since his Stewart-Haas Racing team unloaded it from the hauler. Harvick was fastest in Saturday’s final practices, won the pole, and pulled out to a quick lead when the race began.
He dominated a week ago at Texas to win and earn an automatic berth into the championship race. But NASCAR ruled that winning car was illegal and stripped Harvick of that slot in the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale. So Harvick has approached Phoenix as if he’s got something to prove while chasing the championship.
Seven drivers are vying for three spots in the title race and only Joey Logano is already qualified into the final four.