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

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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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Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”