Harvick has something to prove after rough week
AVONDALE, Ariz. — The mood in the desert is tense headed into the final elimination race before NASCAR’s championship, a title Kevin Harvick is determined to win.
The 2014 champion is on a mission to lead his Stewart-Haas Racing team into the title race, prove they honestly are the best group in the garage and that a wave of adversity cannot unravel their success. NASCAR said the No. 4 team cheated in last weekend’s victory at Texas by building its own spoiler and passing it off as one supplied by the required vendor. The punishment was severe and put Harvick in danger of not qualifying for the championship.
But the road to the final four goes through ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix. It’s a track where Harvick has won previously, including this year — a week after a different No. 4 Ford was found to be illegal following a victory. This track was critical in Harvick’s run to his first title four years ago. It will be again Sunday when he needs to avoid any on-track issues to secure his ticket at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Only a quiet Sunday drive is not Harvick’s style.
He arrived in Phoenix without his crew chief and car chief, both suspended for the final two races of the season. The berth he’d earned into the final four by winning last week at Texas had been stripped away as punishment by NASCAR. His team has been branded a cheat.
So Harvick went out and won the pole .
Then he was fastest in both of Saturday’s practices.
Bell keeps Xfinity hopes alive
Christopher Bell saved his season by winning Saturday at ISM Raceway to snag a spot in the Xfinity Series championship.
The victory was the series-high seventh Kevin Harvick was the fastest in both practices Saturday in preparation for today’s NASCAR race in Avondale, Ariz.
AUTO RACING of the season for Bell, last year’s Truck Series champion. Despite his dominance throughout the year, Bell crashed in the previous two races and started Saturday seventh in the standings. His only shot to make it to the finale was via a victory, and Bell came through to earn a shot at a second NASCAR national title.
Bell will race for the crown against Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick.
Justin Allgaier, the regular-season champion, was eliminated after finishing 24th. Elliott Sadler, who is retiring, also was eliminated.