Kevin Harvick gets first win of the season at Sonoma

Kevin Harvick won’t have to worry about missing out on NASCAR’s playoffs because he doesn’t have a win.

Harvick scored his first win of the season and the first of his career at Sonoma on Sunday as he cruised to the win eight seconds ahead of teammate Clint Bowyer.

Harvick got the lead via a faster final pit stop than Martin Truex Jr., who had the fastest car throughout Sunday’s race. But Harvick didn’t have to worry about fighting Truex for the win, because Truex had to take his car to the garage with less than 20 laps left because of an engine issue.

The only concerns Harvick had at the end of the race were related. If a caution came out while Harvick was leading, other teams behind him could do the opposite pit strategy and either get fresh tires or get track position over Harvick. And as the race went caution-free over the final 56 laps, Harvick had to save a little fuel to make sure that he had enough to win.

A caution didn’t come out. And Harvick had plenty of fuel. The win was his second of the weekend too; he won Saturday’s K&N West race at the track.

In addition to being Harvick’s first win at Sonoma, it’s his first win driving a Ford. All of his wins in NASCAR’s top three series had previously been in Chevrolets. His Stewart-Haas Racing team switched from Chevrolet to Ford at the beginning of the season.

“To finally check this one off the list — I feel like we have been close a couple times but never put it all together,” Harvick said. “Being so close to home and having raced here so much, this was one that was on the top of the list and today we were able to check that box.”

Harvick grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., and has now won on all but three of the tracks on the Cup Series schedule. Those three tracks are Kentucky, Pocono and Texas.

NASCAR’s playoffs are heading for a points crunch. With Harvick’s win, there’s still a logjam of drivers at the top of the standings without a win. Seven of the top 12 drivers in the points are without an official win and 10 drivers have official wins (Joey Logano’s win is encumbered). That means a driver currently in the top 12 in points — right now it’s Matt Kenseth — would miss the playoffs if things don’t change significantly before the end of the regular season.

Full results:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Kyle Busch
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Kurt Busch
8. Chase Elliott
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Jamie McMurray
11. Paul Menard
12. Joey Logano
13. Jimmie Johnson
14. Michael McDowell
15. Ryan Newman
16. Daniel Suarez
17. Danica Patrick
18. Austin Dillon
19. Chris Buescher
20. Matt Kenseth
21. Cole Whitt
22. Billy Johnson
23. Matt DiBenedetto
24. Kasey Kahne
25. Erik Jones
26. Kyle Larson
27. Trevor Bayne
28. Ty Dillon
29. Boris Said
30. Landon Cassill
31. David Ragan
32. Alon Day
33. Kevin O’Connell
34. Tommy Regan
35. AJ Allmendinger
36. Josh Bilicki
37. Martin Truex Jr.
38. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Kevin Harvick is a very likely member of NASCAR’s playoffs in 2017. (Getty)

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!