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The Best 2018 TicketGuardian 500 Lineup — Fantasy NASCAR Picks

12 Mars 2018

The series veteran from New Jersey has yet to win at the one-mile oval.

Kevin Harvick raced to his third straight NASCAR Cup Series victory, winning the TicketGuardian 500 by holding off Kyle Busch for his record-extending ninth win at ISM Raceway.

Harvick's 40th career Cup Series win follows NASCAR penalizing his team midweek after officials determined a rear windshield brace had broken on Harvick's auto and the side skirt was made of steel not aluminum.

Kevin Harvick left everyone else behind the last two weeks in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Fellow Cup drivers Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Ty Dillon also are racing Saturday in the second-tier series.

"When things are like this, you want to capitalize on them, and you want to capitalize on your cars and your people and your enthusiasm and the momentum and all the things that come with that, so you're nearly scared to even really step back and say, we did this or we did that, and your name is on the list here", Harvick said. "Everybody was just determined this week". "We went and found a vehicle, our own sponsors and we're not charging the track a dime to be there". We didn't stomp them, but we won.

"I knew I wanted to get Kyle behind me", said Harvick.

"It really brought to my attention the type of impact (his running at Sonoma) had on the series and how much exposure it brought to the series", said Harvick, who won the West championship in 1998. Our (final) pit stop wasn't stellar.

NASCAR implemented a policy whereby it distributes a uniform pit gun each week as a way to cut back on the advantage bigger teams had by being able to invest thousands of dollars in developing guns that were faster and better than those that could be produced by smaller teams.

"It was a solid day", said Bowyer. We weren't very good here past year. We are just trying to gain.

Byron and crew chief Darian Grubb improved the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet throughout the race, but Byron was no match for Harvick. Just didn't have what I needed to stay in front of Kevin (Harvick) for that long, there were a lot of laps left. "Having a good run today is definitely some positive mojo going".

Defending Series champion Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five. Is he going to come back?

Kevin Harvick can not be denied right now.Just a few days after a controversial penalty cost him the championship lead, 20 championship points and all seven playoff points he earned for winning at Las.

With 120 to go, Paul Menard spun and crashed and that sent the field to the pits.

Stenhouse has been one of the most improved drivers the past two seasons. Kyle Busch came out third and Harvick fourth.

Truex moved into first on the re-start but Larson quickly took it back. "Getting the support of Denny Hamlin starting the wave of tremendous support and that led into it just spreading like wildfire". Hamlin has led the most laps of any driver in the past four races in Phoenix.

In the last visit to ISM Raceway, Hamlin cut a tire following contact with Elliott. He didn't qualify poorly but will start back in 10th when the green flag is dropped on Sunday.

But Larson ran into mechanical problems on the 57 lap.

Busch pitted with 53 to go.

Kevin Harvick was mad. Busch was.8 seconds behind. The only change from now and then is that Harvick now drives a Stewart-Haas Ford Fusion. The TicketGuardian 500 will feature 312 laps which feature 3 stages of 75, 75, and 162 laps.

Matt DiBenedetto added Zynga Poker as the primary sponsor of Go Fas Racing's No. 32 Ford for the weekend through a social media posting - and Denny Hamlin's retweet.

2018 NASCAR champion Martin Truex Jr. will start out front because of his efforts during qualifying on Friday.

The Best 2018 TicketGuardian 500 Lineup — Fantasy NASCAR Picks