Mar 4, 5:26 PM EST

Kevin Harvick claims first 2 stages at NASCAR race in Vegas

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The Latest on NASCAR's Vegas race (all times EST):


5:23 p.m.

Kevin Harvick has easily won the first two stages of the NASCAR race in Las Vegas.

After starting on the front row, Harvick dominated the first stage and comfortably claimed the second stage to put himself in prime position for back-to-back race victories after his comfortable win in Atlanta last week. The 42-year-old veteran has led 144 of the 160 total laps in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.

Pole-sitter Ryan Blaney got back into second, and Kyle Larson is third after winning the Xfinity Series race in Vegas on Saturday.

Harvick hasn't won back-to-back NASCAR races since 2015, when the native California took checkered flags at Las Vegas and Phoenix during the West Coast swing.


4:59 p.m.

Josh Frankos, the tire-changer on Darrell Wallace Jr.'s Richard Petty Motorsports team, injured his hand while preparing for the Vegas race and was sent to a hospital on Sunday morning. Michael Hubert filled in for him on pit road.

The injury couldn't keep Frankos down, however: He returned to the track for the race.


4:30 p.m.

Kevin Harvick has easily won the first stage of the NASCAR race in Las Vegas.

Harvick won in style last week in Atlanta, and the veteran needed all of two laps to get ahead of pole-sitter Ryan Blaney in Vegas. Harvick, who started on the front row, pressed his advantage throughout the opening stage and swiftly lapped Jimmie Johnson and several other cars.

Defending Vegas champion Martin Truex Jr. is in second place. In third is Kyle Larson, who won the Xfinity Series race on Saturday.


3:45 p.m.

Jimmie Johnson was sent to the back of the field for the start of Sunday's NASCAR race at Las Vegas because his car needed four trips through inspection to be approved for participation.

NASCAR ejected Johnson car chief Jesse Saunders because the car failed inspection three times. The Chevrolet passed on its fourth inspection. Saunders is responsible for setting up the Camaro.

Johnson is a seven-time NASCAR champion and the winningest active driver on the Vegas track, but he is off to a slow start this season. He crashed in all three races at Daytona International Speedway and was 27th last week at Atlanta. He's 35th in the Cup standings.

Ryan Blaney started from the pole in Vegas.

Ross Chastain's car also failed inspection three times, and he also lost his car chief.


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