KEVIN HARVICK/No.29 Reese's Chevrolet won the NASCAR Nextel Cup Checkers Auto Parts 500 Race at Phoenix International Raceway Sunday, making it three for four of the PIR NASCAR races this year.

He won both the Busch and Cup race at this year's Spring PIR NASCAR weekend, and finished a close second in Saturday's Busch Series race. This was his tenth Cup victory, five of which came this season, and he is the only Chase driver to score a repeat victory in The Chase. Harvick led four times for 252 laps in the 312-lap races.

HARVICK said "Our race car was really good today. The team tweaked it bit by bit throughout the race. Just doing what we had to do."

JIMMY JOHNSON/No.48 Lowe's Chevrolet was runner-up, 0.250 seconds behind Harvick. Johnson was followed by the top Rookie, DENNY HAMLIN/No.11 FedEx Chevrolet. JEFF GORDON/No.24 Dupont Chevrolet and CARL EDWARDS/No.99 Office Depot Ford finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The top four drivers ran Chevrolet Monte Carlos. Chevrolet has won 23 of this year's 35 Nextel Cup races and has clinched the 2006 Manufacturers' Championship.

A Red Flag was thrown three laps from the end, lasting for nearly nine minutes. CASEY MEARS/No.42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge spun and cars piled up behind him blocking the track. No one was hurt and all involved continued the race. Mears got back on track and was the last car finishing on the lead lap. Harvick's failing alternator and then battery were of concern to Harvick during the race, and when his car wouldn't start on the last restart, Harvick asked for a wrecker. After his victorious burn out, he again had to call for a Tow.

Harvick is now unofficially third in The Chase For The Nextel Cup, tied with Hamlin-90 points behind leader Johnson and 63 points behind Kenseth.

NASCAR indicates the top five drivers, who are within 156 points of Johnson, still have a mathematical chance of winning The Chase. Johnson has three scenarios which will ensure his championship next weekend: Finishing twelfth or better and leading no laps; finishing thirteenth or better and leading at least one lap; or finishing fifteenth or better and leading the most laps. As soon as Harvick starts the Homestead race, Jeff Gordon is eliminated from The Chase. The other four drivers have already fallen out of contention after this weekend's race.

Gordon, the newlywed, said "We're in great position. We're just not in position to win the championship. We've been fighting hard and doing great, but not good enough. If we hadn't had those three bad finishes, who knows where we'd be right now. But I'm just excited we're just improving it seems like everywhere we go. It's got me excited that we're heading in the right direction for next year."

NASCAR further draws out the possibilities. If Kenseth wins the Homestead Ford 400 race, and both he and Johnson tie in the points, they would have to go past the first tie breaker, as they each have five victories. The second tie breaker involves second place finishes, and Johnson would win, with his six runner-up finishes compared to the three of Kenseth's.

Johnson said "It certainly was a great run, but in order to get the win I knew I would have to force the issue, and that wouldn't be the smart thing to do. So we'll go to Homestead and have another great race. I have no clue what to expect at Homestead. I have no strategy other than finishing ahead of the 17, 8 (DALE EARNHARDT/No.8 Budweiser Chevrolet) and 11."

Hamlin said he had a strong car. "We struggled but we picked up at the end. We had a good car, just not a winning car. We're going to go to Homestead and celebrate a great season.

An estimated crowd of 106,000 enjoyed warm, sunny weather for three hour 14+ minutes race on the one-mile paved flat oval. There were 12 lead changes among seven drivers, and ten cautions for 58 laps. Twenty-six cars finished on the lead lap. Eleven cars were involved in accidents, one twice - DALE JARRETT/No.88 UPS Ford. He DNF after his second go-around, to rank thirty-ninth.

It was a safe weekend, but that's not to say the Infield Care Center wasn't busy. More of the gastrointestinal problems which plagued the NASCAR garage at last weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway kept the medical staff busy all four days at PIR.

Next weekend's Nextel Cup Ford 400 season's finale race runs at 2:50 pm Sunday afternoon EST at Homestead Miami Speedway and televised live on NBC TV.

NASCAR NEXTEL CUP CHECKERS AUTO PARTS 500 RACE
PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - UNOFFICIAL RESULTS:

1 29 KEVIN HARVICK/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
2 48 JIMMY JOHNSON/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
3 11 *DENNY HAMLIN/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
4 24 JEFF GORDON/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
5 99 CARL EDWARDS/Ford 312 RUNNING
6 6 MARK MARTIN/Ford 312 RUNNING
7 9 KASEY KAHNE/Dodge 312 RUNNING
8 2 KURT BUSCH/Dodge 312 RUNNING
9 8 DALE EARNHARDT/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
10 31 JEFF BURTON/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
11 25 BRIAN VICKERS/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
12 1 *MARTIN TRUEX Jr/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
13 17 MATT KENSETH/Ford 312 RUNNING
14 20 TONY STEWART/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
15 12 RYAN NEWMAN/Dodge 312 RUNNING
16 38 DAVID GILLILAND/Ford 312 RUNNING
17 19 ELLIOTT SADLER/Dodge 312 RUNNING
18 40 *DAVID STREMME/Dodge 312 RUNNING
19 01 JOE NEMECHECK/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
20 18 *J.J. YELEY/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
21 96 TONY RAINES/Chevrolet 312 RUNNING
22 10 SCOTT RIGGS/Dodge 312 RUNNING
23 22 DAVE BLANEY/Dodge 312 RUNNING
24 21 KEN SCHRADER/Ford 312 RUNNING
25 45 KYLE PETTY/Dodge 312 RUNNING
26 42 CASEY MEARS/Dodge 312 RUNNING
27 43 BOBBY LABONTE/Dodge 311 RUNNING
28 4 WARD BURTON/Chevrolet 311 RUNNING
29 41 *REED SORENSON/Dodge 310 RUNNING
30 32 TRAVIS KVAPIL/Chevrolet 310 RUNNING
31 37 BILL ELLIOTT/Dodge 309 RUNNING
32 7 ROBBY GORDON/Chevrolet 307 RUNNING
33 07 *CLINT BOWYER/Chevrolet 306 OIL LINE
34 16 GREG BIFFLE/Ford 306 RUNNING
35 61 CHAD CHAFFIN/Dodge 306 RUNNING
36 14 STERLING MARLIN/Chevrolet 303 RUNNING
37 66 JEFF GREEN/Chevrolet 298 ACCIDENT
38 5 KYLE BUSCH/Chevrolet 291 RUNNING
39 88 DALE JARRETT/Ford 289 ACCIDENT
40 26 JAMIE McMURRAY/Ford 272 ACCIDENT
41 49 MIKE BLISS/Dodge 262 ENGINE
42 55 MICHAEL WALTRIP/Dodge 234 ENGINE
43 72 BRANDON WITT/Chevrolet 123 REAR END
*-ROOKIE

NASCAR NEXTEL CUP UNOFFICIAL POINTS STANDINGS

1 JIMMIE JOHNSON/Chevrolet 6322
2 MATT KENSETH/Ford - 63
3 KEVIN HARVICK/Chevrolet - 90
4 *DENNY HAMLIN/Chevrolet - 90
5 DALE EARNHARDT Jr/Chevrolet -125
6 JEFF GORDON/Chevrolet -167
7 JEFF BURTON/Chevrolet -225
8 MARK MARTIN/Ford -273
9 KASEY KAHNE/Dodge -319
10 KYLE BUSCH/Chevrolet -359
*-ROOKIE