NASCAR

The Latest: Harvick gets flat tire while leading at Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Latest on NASCAR"s elimination race at ISM Raceway outside of Phoenix (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

A flat tire may have derailed Kevin Harvick"s run to another championship.

Harvick was dominating Sunday"s race and had led every lap until he ducked onto pit road with a sudden flat tire. Harvick led the first 72 laps but dropped to 30th in the field after the issue. He also went down one lap from the leaders.

Chase Elliott won the first stage after inheriting the lead when Harvick had to stop for new tires.

Elliott needs to win at ISM Raceway to advance into the championship round next week.

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12:45 p.m.

Kevin Harvick led the field to the start of NASCAR"s final race to set the championship field. The 2014 champion has dominated all weekend at ISM Raceway and is trying to show his team can overcome a cheating scandal and still win the title.

Harvick is a nine-time winner at the track outside of Phoenix and his No. 4 Ford has been the fastest car here since his Stewart-Haas Racing team unloaded it from the hauler. Harvick was fastest in Saturday"s final practices, won the pole, and pulled out to a quick lead when the race began.

He dominated a week ago at Texas to win and earn an automatic berth into the championship race. But NASCAR ruled that winning car was illegal and stripped Harvick of that slot in the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale. So Harvick has approached Phoenix as if he"s got something to prove while chasing the championship.

Seven drivers are vying for three spots in the title race and only Joey Logano is already qualified into the final four.

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