Harvick Wins The Checker Auto Parts 500, Johnson Extends Points Lead
It was an amazing win for Harvick who battled voltage problems much of the day at Phoenix. When the the red flag waved on lap 307 to clean up debris on the racetrack Harvick needed a push start from a tow vehicle just to get his car refired.
After the race restarted on lap 309 Harvick was able to hold off Jimmie Johnson for the win.
Johnson finished second and extends his lead in the Chase for The Nextel Cup unofficially to 63 points over second place Matt Kenseth.
Rounding out the top 5 in the Checker Auto Parts 500 were Denny Hamlin in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth and Carl Edwards in fifth. With the exception of Matt Kenseth who finished thirteenth and Kyle Busch who finished thirty-eighth all of the Chase drivers scored top 10 finishes at Phoenix.
With only one race left to go in the 2006 Nextel Cup Season only 5 drivers have a realistic chance at a Championship going into the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway next week.
With only 156 points possible in a single race, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch have all been mathematically eliminated from a Nextel Cup Series Championship this year.
The favorite for the Nextel Cup Championship has to be Jimmie Johnson who's consistency has set his team apart from the other Chasers. Johnson can clinch the championship next week at Homestead with a finish of twelvth or better regardless of how any of the other Chase drivers finish the race.
Kenseth has the second best chance if Johnson can have some bad luck at Homestead. Trailing Johnson by only 63 points, if Kenseth can finish significantly ahead of Johnson next week he has a realistic shot at his second Nextel Cup Championship.
While not completely out of the hunt passing Johnson and Kenseth will be a tall order for Harvick, Hamlin and Earnhardt Jr.
The 2006 Nextel Cup Season culminates next week at Miami Homestead Speedway for the Ford 400. The winner of last years season finale at Homestead was Greg Biffle. The race will be held next Sunday 11/19/06 at 2pm Eastern. Race coverage can been seen on NBC TV.
by Michael Cash - thespread.com - Email Us
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