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Kevin Harvick wins at Vegas for his second-straight victory of 2018

Kevin Harvick led over 200 laps at Las Vegas. (Getty)

Kevin Harvick is owning the early chapters of the 2018 season.

Much like he did a week ago at Atlanta, Harvick kicked everyone’s butt Sunday at Las Vegas on the way to the win. He beat Kyle Busch by over three seconds. Kyle Larson was third, almost 13 second back and Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.

Harvick led 214 of the race’s 267 laps and only nine cars were on the lead lap at the checkered flag. The win is Harvick’s 100th in NASCAR’s top three series. He has 39 wins in the Cup Series, 47 wins in the Xfinity Series and 14 wins in the Truck Series.

“There was no catching that 4, they were on rails today,” Busch said.

He’s clearly the prohibitive early favorite for the title, though it’s probably not fair to start jumping to conclusions a twelfth of the way through the season.

Harvick’s damn good at Phoenix, the next race of the season as well. Harvick hasn’t finished outside the top six at Phoenix since the 2013 spring race. He’s won five of those nine races.

He won everything there was to win at Las Vegas on Sunday as well. Harvick started second and easily won the first and second stages. He passed Joey Logano on the race’s final restart with ease and had no challengers the rest of the way. The only late race drama came when Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch waited to make their final pit stops longer than the rest of the field did and the possibility for a race-altering caution flag existed as they had the field a lap down.

That caution flag never happened and Harvick cycled back to the lead and cruised to the win. With his two victories and three stage wins so far in 2018, Harvick’s accumulated 13 points for the playoffs (and taken over the points lead). Martin Truex Jr. started the 2017 playoffs with 53 playoff points through 26 races.

Harvick’s win overshadowed some early pit stop drama too. Harvick’s team had two issues with the new NASCAR-issued air guns on pit stops in the first part of the race. Harvick had such a fast car that the problems ultimately didn’t matter. But his team wasn’t the only one with pit gun problems either.

NASCAR started making teams lease pit gun equipment in 2018 in an attempt to save teams money as part of the pit crew changes for the season. But the guns have proved extremely unreliable so far. If the trend continues, they’re going to cost someone a race win soon. That will be ugly.

Full results:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Larson
4. Martin Truex Jr.
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Joey Logano
8. Erik Jones
9. Paul Menard
10. Aric Almirola
11. Ryan Newman
12. Jimmie Johnson
13. Austin Dillon
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15. Chris Buescher
16. Alex Bowman
17. Denny Hamlin
18. Clint Bowyer
19. Kasey Kahne
20. Trevor Bayne
21. Darrell Wallace Jr.
22. Matt DiBenedetto
23. David Ragan
24. Ty Dillon
25. Cole Custer
26. Daniel Suarez
27. William Byron
28. Cole Whitt
29. Ross Chastain
30. AJ Allmendinger
31. Jeffrey Earnhardt
32. Joey Gase
33. Gray Gaulding
34. Chase Elliott
35. Kurt Busch
36. Jamie McMurray
37. Michael McDowell

 

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.