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Phoenix NASCAR: Harvick wins, Edwards runs dry, Johnson nears title

Kevin Harvick wins Phoenix NASCAR Sprint Cup race 2013

Kevin Harvick grabbed the Phoenix NASCAR Sprint Cup win as Carl Edwards ran out of fuel on the last lap, while Jimmie Johnson moved to the brink of a sixth title.

As Johnson took third place behind Hendrick team-mate Kasey Kahne, his championship rival Matt Kenseth struggled to 23rd.

That gives Johnson a 28-point lead heading to next Sunday's Homestead season finale and means he only needs to finish 23rd or higher there to become 2013 champion.

Johnson achieved that result despite two major scares during the Phoenix race.

The first came on the opening lap, when he immediately lost his pole advantage and ended up three-abreast with Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. Contact with the latter sent Johnson sliding, but he regained control in sixth place.

A host of mid-race yellows prompted a wide array of different pit strategies and a constantly shuffled order, and it was during that period that Johnson was knocked sideways again as Edwards slid into him while avoiding a dive from Harvick.

The points leader stayed out of the wall and continued back in 25th place, but was able to quickly regain ground as the strategies played out and with some assertive driving.

When the race order finally settled for the last 30 laps, Edwards was leading in his Roush Fenway Ford by a second over Kahne.

Harvick's Richard Childress Chevrolet had the freshest tyres of the lead cars and was able to pass Johnson and Kahne in quick succession to take second.

Edwards still looked set for a second Phoenix win of 2013 as he maintained a one-second cushion, until his car ran dry approaching the white flag.

As Edwards trickled to the finish in 21st place, Harvick claimed victory by 1.7 seconds over Kahne, with Johnson next up.

Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Toyota, Phoenix NASCAR 2013

Kenseth was off the pace all day. A terrible mid-race pitstop, just after Johnson's incident with Edwards threw him a lifeline, put Kenseth right back in 29th, and he made little progress, finishing a lapped 21st.

Dale Earnhardt Jr fought back to fourth after a loose wheel left him a lap down in 35th place early on.

Kurt Busch completed the top five, with Juan Pablo Montoya producing a strong drive to sixth position.

The various tactical permutations meant that Logano, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon all led for long spells but finished ninth, 10th, 11th and 14th.

Hamlin had led the first 18 laps following Logano and Johnson's brush, but a dramatic loss of pace, a spin and a pitlane speeding penalty dropped him to 28th.

Results - 312 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                         Time/Gap
 1.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet          2h57m03.000s
 2.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet                +1.796s
 3.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet                +2.925s
 4.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet                +4.309s
 5.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet           +5.118s
 6.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +6.338s
 7.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +6.977s
 8.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                    +7.303s
 9.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                       +8.203s
10.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +8.699s
11.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                       +9.048s
12.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford                 +9.470s
13.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford                +10.029s
14.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet               +10.824s
15.  Mark Martin         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           +11.604s
16.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet              +12.791s
17.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet              +13.210s
18.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet      +14.261s
19.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                       +15.766s
20.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                   +18.973s
21.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford                +33.608s
22.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota               +1 lap
23.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota                   +1 lap
24.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                     +1 lap
25.  Elliott Sadler      Waltrip Toyota                     +1 lap
26.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                         +1 lap
27.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                       +1 lap
28.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota                   +1 lap
29.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet                  +1 lap
30.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet                 +2 laps
31.  Justin Allgaier     Phoenix Chevrolet                 +3 laps
32.  Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                      +4 laps
33.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           +10 laps
34.  Timmy Hill          FAS Lane Ford                    +27 laps
35.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                   +30 laps

Retirements:

     Josh Wise           Front Row Ford                   280 laps
     Reed Sorenson       Leavine Ford                     266 laps
     Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                     193 laps
     David Reutimann     BK Toyota                        187 laps
     Cole Whitt          Swan Toyota                      142 laps
     Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                        129 laps
     Landon Cassill      Hillman Chevrolet                 63 laps
     Tony Raines         Circle Sport Chevrolet            29 laps
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