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Harvick dominates Vegas for back-to-back Cup wins

Associated Press • Mar 4, 2018 at 8:18 PM

LAS VEGAS  — Kevin Harvick raced to his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win with a dominant performance at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, earning his 100th career win across the three national series.

Harvick followed up his stellar performance last weekend in Atlanta with another lopsided victory in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. He led 209 of the 267 laps, won all three stages and even held off a late charge from Kyle Busch to win in Vegas for the second time in four years.

“These last two weeks, we’ve just hit on everything we needed to,” Harvick said. “My (team has) done their homework on a number of things. Just really proud of everybody.”

Busch got close to his second career victory in his hometown with his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota but couldn’t overcome the dominant leader. Kyle Larson finished third after winning the Xfinity Series race on Saturday, defending champion Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and polesitter Ryan Blaney finished fifth.

Harvick has already matched his Cup win total from last season in three races — and he’s headed to Phoenix, where he has won five times since 2012.

Only Richard Petty, Kyle Busch and David Pearson have won more races across the three national circuits than Harvick, a 42-year-old Californian.

“Winning 100 races is something that I never thought I would do,” Harvick said. “They’re hard to win, and I’ve been fortunate to sit in a lot of good race cars.”

Not many wins are more emphatic than Harvick’s 100th.

Harvick led 144 of the first 160 laps and comfortably won the first two stages. He was fourth out of the end-of-stage caution after stage 2, with Joey Logano getting in front with an exceptional pit stop.

But Harvick reclaimed the lead off another restart with 73 laps to go after Kurt Busch wrecked along with Chase Elliott. Harvick emerged from his last pit stop with a three-second lead on Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch couldn’t catch up.

Harvick was even more dominant in Vegas than Truex last year. Truex led all three stages and 150 laps last year on his way to a victory that propelled him into his championship season.

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