AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Busch led the most laps, Brad Keselowski took the championship points lead from Jimmie Johnson, and a fight broke out between the crews of Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon.
Amid all that activity, Kevin Harvick quietly went about the business of winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in over a year when he took the checkered flag Sunday in the Advocare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
"We want to win races, and we want to be competitive, and that's what we're going to do," Harvick said.
Cars were wrecking and sliding sideways as they crossed the finish line under the checkered flag. Driving or sliding across the line to finish second through fifth were Denny Hamlin, Busch, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman.
Busch dominated much of the race, but he gave up the lead to Harvick with eight laps remaining.
Harvick wasn't the only winner on the day. Keselowski headed into Phoenix seven points behind leader Johnson. With a sixth-place finish, though, Keselowski retook the points lead and built up a cushion of 20 points over Johnson, who finished the race 32nd.
"Obviously, there's no guarantees," Keselowski said. "The same thing could happen to us next week, and Jimmie could take back over."
Johnson's race went south with a tire issue that sent him hard into the wall with 77 laps to go. After spending a significant amount of time in the garage for repairs, Johnson drove his No. 48 back onto the race track to be around at the finish in an attempt to minimize the points damage.
"That's racing," Johnson said. "We'll just go down to Homestead and do what we can. Another 30 or 40 feet down the corner and we probably would've just had a flat and not hit the wall."
Johnson drove into the garage while Keselowski led the race. Keselowski lost the advantage, though, on pit road during the yellow flag caused by Johnson when he hit the wall. Keselowski was unable to get back to the front, but he did make it up to the third spot to battle Hamlin for second.
Keselowski wasn't able to get by Hamlin, and he gave up track position when the yellow flag waved again with 40 laps to go. While most of the frontrunners stayed out, Keselowski pitted for tires and restarted in the eighth spot. He was unable to make up much ground the rest of the way.
Harvick moved into the second spot to challenge Busch on a restart that followed a caution with 31 laps to go. Harvick finally was able to take the lead on a restart that followed a caution with 11 laps remaining.
Harvick remained up front the rest of the way, and he and his team thought he had taken the white flag before Gordon and Bowyer wrecked in the late-going. According to NASCAR officials, though, Harvick had yet to take the white flag, so the race was red-flagged, and laps were added to make sure the race ended under green.
"I was just thinking about not over-driving the corner and how much gas I had," Harvick said.
While Harvick was concentrating on his fuel level, Bowyer and Gordon's pit crews were duking it out in the garage. Bowyer's crew chief, Brian Pattie, said he wasn't sure why Gordon wrecked his driver, thinking that maybe the two made contact earlier in the race in turn three.
Gordon's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, said, "It's about the fifth time he's (Bowyer) run us over, and we're getting tired of that. If you're going to race like that, you shouldn't be mad when you get it back."
The extra distance of the green-white-checkered finish caused Harvick and his crew to wonder whether they had enough fuel, and several other teams has the same concerns. All were able to get to the checkered flag on fuel, but a late-race multi-car wreck involving Keselowski, Mark Martin, Kurt Busch, Newman and Paul Menard sent several drivers over the finish line sideways.
"I raced pretty hard last week at Texas and got flak for it," Keselowski said. "There's a difference between that and what we saw today. That was borderline ridiculous."
When the dust settled, Greg Biffle finished seventh, Kurt Busch eighth, Menard ninth and Martin 10th.
NOTES: Keselowski and Johnson both needed extra time to get their cars through pre-race inspection .... Kyle Busch dominated much of the weekend, also claiming the pole and posting the fastest laps in practice .... Sunday's race was the third Sprint Cup event at Phoenix since the track was reconfigured prior to the 2011 season .... For the eighth straight race in which Kyle Busch led the most laps, he failed to win.