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Kevin Harvick needed every trick in his bag to win again at Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kevin Harvick is so good at Phoenix International Raceway that he wins races even when he probably shouldn't.

While the 1-mile oval isn't known for fierce tire wear, over a two-lap shootout, a driver with two fresh tires should be able to pass another driver who has nearly 75 green-flag laps on his.

But Harvick was able to hold off Carl Edwards -- just barely, by 0.01 seconds -- to capture the Good Sam 500 for his fifth win in the past six races at PIR.

"I just like racing here," Harvick said. "It's just one of those places where I feel like I've been here enough times to where I can move around and find something to make our car work.

"We struggled a lot this weekend to get the balance where we wanted to, but we knew the feel that we were looking for."

While it appeared Harvick had that feel he needed over the second half of the race, as he led a race-high 139 laps, it was the last two laps that he led that were the most impressive.

Edwards started fourth on the green-white-checkered restart, with Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in front of him and Austin Dillon beside him -- the only drivers who had stayed out and did not pit after a Kasey Kahne crash brought out the caution with five laps to go. Edwards felt good, considering he had the two fresh right-side tires.

And still Edwards couldn't win. Edwards admitted it would take a while to get over the loss at Phoenix. He knew going into that restart that in some ways, even though he was fourth, it was his race to lose.

"He was pretty fast, even on old tires," Edwards said of Harvick. "Once we got clear, I thought we were going to get one shot. I tried to go to the outside of him and he blocked a little bit, and I didn't have anywhere to go but rub him a little bit."

Harvick bolted to the lead on the restart, but Edwards had moved to second in one lap and got beside Harvick over the final turns. They banged doors a couple of times.

Edwards had the lead coming out of Turn 4, and after Harvick hit him, Edwards tried to door-slam Harvick. But Harvick had enough momentum to win by inches in the closest finish in a non-restrictor plate race since 2004 at Rockingham.

"I knew I was going to be on defense down there," said Harvick, who has six victories in the past eight Cup races at PIR, a place where has eight of his 32 Sprint Cup victories. "I got up too high and wasn't able to stay on the bottom like I wanted to, and then he got into me, like he should have.

"And I needed to get a good run off the corner and I was going to have to get into his door, and it worked out, just barely."

Edwards didn't want to just punt Harvick, as both sought their first victory of the season and the confidence that a Chase for the Sprint Cup berth likely would come from it.

"I was fully expecting to get hit," Harvick said. "I just wanted to make sure that I could get it pointed and get back in the throttle the best that I could."

After Harvick hit him coming off Turn 4, Edwards said when he tried to door-slam Harvick, it didn't make much of a difference.

"I didn't want to wreck him; those guys earned their spot," Edwards said. "I moved him, and it was just a drag race. And we just lost it.

"That is going to be a tough one to swallow, but it really was a lot of fun."

Edwards' Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished third and fourth, with Earnhardt finishing fifth. Dillon, the only other driver to not take tires prior to the green-white-checkered, finished ninth.

"I thought, 'I will hit him hard enough to move him'; that's a good way to race," Edwards said. "We had a faster car. I took my shot. It was frustrating to not win. It could have gone the other way."

Harvick crew chief Rodney Childers said the tires don't wear out enough that Harvick had an opportunity to win by staying out. But that doesn't mean he was very confident over the last few minutes of the race.

"When there was only three [drivers who stayed out], that turned into a little bit of panic mode for me," Childers said. "I thought we would be OK and after that first lap, I thought this was going to be close. I'm just thankful for the job that Kevin does."