Harvick marks himself a contender with win

PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer Published:

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) -- Kevin Harvick knew his first-year Stewart-Haas Racing team was better than it had shown the past few weeks. After taking the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night, Harvick is convinced the group has exactly what it takes to win a Sprint Cup championship.

Harvick says he "came here to race for wins, to be in a position to contend for a championship."

They took a major step to proving that with Harvick's first victory in 18 races at the track. It made Harvick the first this season with two victories -- and a lock for the season-ending, 16-team Chase for a Sprint Cup championship.

The victory also ended a five-race slump for Harvick in the races since the team's breakthrough win at Phoenix last month.