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Kevin Harvick is halfway leader in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas

Mar 9, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT

Kevin Harvick is the only two-time winner thus far in the first eight races of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. AP

Leading the field at the halfway point of  Sunday’s 267-lap Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, last week’s race winner at Phoenix, Kevin Harvick, is looking to make it two wins in a row.

Coming up one spot short of victory in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway must have lit a fire under Kyle Busch, as the younger Busch brother led 51 laps before surrendering the lead to Harvick just four laps before halfway.

Pole-sitter Joey Logano led the field to the green and led 44 of the first 100 laps of the scheduled 267-lap event on the progressively-banked 1.5-mile racetrack. Logano was running 11th at halfway.

Four-time Las Vegas race-winner and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson eventually found his way to the front and led 30 laps before surrendering his advantage to Kyle Busch. Johnson was third at the halfway mark before pitting for fuel and four tires a few laps past halfway.

Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his strong start to the 2014 season, coming in fourth at the halfway mark.

Brad Keselowski, who started on the outside pole alongside Penske Racing teammate Logano, rarely strayed far from the top five and appeared headed to a third consecutive strong finish, sitting sixth at halfway.

Last year’s race winner at Las Vegas, Matt Kenseth, seemed content to remain in the top 10, running ninth at the midpoint, perhaps saving a final kick for the final laps.

Others in the top 10 at halfway included Jeff Gordon (fifth), Martin Truex Jr. (seventh),  Paul Menard (eighth) and Denny Hamlin (10th).

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises – and not in a good way – was the performance of Tony Stewart, who fell to 32nd position after the first 100 laps. Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch, who hails from Las Vegas but counts its racetrack as his worst-performing facility on the Sprint Cup circuit, was ranked 22nd at halfway, while Danica Patrick was running 28th.

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