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Harvick saves fuel to win in Michigan

Johnson hits wall early
Sunday, August 11, 2019

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Kevin Harvick celebrates
Kevin Harvick celebrates

Recovering from a punctured right front tire that cost him track position early in the race, Kevin Harvick passed Joey Logano on Lap 183 of 200 and cruised to a 1.595-second victory in Sunday's Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

During a closing 48-lap green-flag run that began with a restart on Lap 153, Harvick charged from seventh to first, recording his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, his third at the 2.0-mile track and the 47th of his career.

"It was a day of a little bit of adversity that we were able to overcome," Harvick said. "We had a really fast car all weekend. Our car handled really well today, and with the multiple lanes (thanks in part to the application of traction compound in the high grooves), we were able to run all three lanes pretty well and make our way through traffic.

"They (the team) put a really fast race car on the track, and we were able to capitalize on it, so that's always fun."

When Harvick crossed the finish line, leading his 22nd lap of the afternoon, Denny Hamlin was running second after Logano pitted for a splash of fuel on Lap 197. Kyle Larson ran third, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez, who re-entered the Playoff picture when two drivers on the bubble ahead of him — Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer — had disastrous days in the Irish Hills.

Thirty-one laps into the race, Harvick steered his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford onto pit road with a flat right front tire. But with the first 60-lap stage running green from start to finish, Harvick was able to drive up to sixth by the end of the stage.

Martin Truex Jr. won Stage 1 after starting from the rear because of two pre-race inspection failures, but his No. 19 Toyota wasn't as strong in traffic late in the race than it had been early on. Kyle Busch won Stage 2, but his car, like Truex's, wasn't as effective in traffic after pit stops at the end of the stage scrambled the running order.

Likewise, Hamlin's car was best in the heat of the day on a hot, slick track, but the speed in Harvick's car prevailed as the asphalt cooled down.

"Well, it seemed like we generally had the best-handling car when it was really hot and slick, but as the day went on and the track cooled off, the guys that had built more speed into their car, it kind of handicapped it for them. So, we were able to hang on to those Fords there at the end, and then just got — the 4 (Harvick) was trying to save fuel I'm guessing there, the 2 (pole winner Brad Keselowski) and the 22 (Logano) peeled off. 

"Nothing I could really do, just didn't have enough speed. The 4 was about a half second faster than us in qualifying, and when we were holding it wide open there at the end, just couldn't overcome it."

Kyle Busch ran sixth, and Ryan Preece came home seventh, posting his first career top 10 in his 28th series start. The Hendrick Motorsports trio of William Byron, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman completed the top 10.

Kevin Harvick races to victory
Kevin Harvick races to victory

Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson wasn't as fortunate. On Lap 15, his No. 48 Chevrolet slapped the outside wall, severely damaging the right side of the car. Johnson finished 34th, eight laps down.

Bowyer's misfortune came on Lap 137, after contact with the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford of Paul Menard. Bowyer's car slammed into the Turn 3 wall, and efforts to repair the car proved futile. Bowyer retired from the race in 37th place.

Johnson dropped two places to 18th in the series standings, 12 points behind Bowyer and 12th-place finisher Ryan Newman, tied for the last Playoff-eligible position. Suarez moved past Johnson to 17th in the standings and trails Newman and Bowyer by four points with three races left before the cutoff at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Results

FinStrNo.DriverTeamLapsPtsStatus
124Kevin HarvickMobil 1 Ford20045Running
21411Denny HamlinFedEx Office Toyota20044Running
31742Kyle LarsonMcDonald's Chevrolet20034Running
41519Martin Truex JrAuto-Owners Insurance/MTJ 500th Start Toyota20052Running
51141Daniel SuarezARRIS Ford20032Running
62218Kyle BuschInterstate Batteries Toyota20041Running
72947Ryan Preece #Kroger Chevrolet20030Running
8324William ByronLiberty University Chevrolet20038Running
969Chase ElliottNAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet20035Running
10488Alex BowmanAxalta Chevrolet20030Running
112113Ty DillonK&L Ready Mix Chevrolet20026Running
12206Ryan NewmanWyndham Rewards Ford20025Running
13373Austin DillonChevrolet Accessories Chevrolet20024Running
142537Chris BuescherKroger Fast Start Chevrolet20023Running
15921Paul MenardMasterTechs/QuickLaneTire&AutoCenter Ford20023Running
162438David RaganMDS Transport Ford20021Running
17822Joey LoganoShell Pennzoil Ford20034Running
181620Erik JonesDeWalt Toyota20025Running
1912Brad KeselowskiDiscount Tire Ford20026Running
202795Matt DiBenedettoToyota Express Maintenance Toyota20017Running
213132Corey LaJoieSchuler Systems Ford20016Running
222334Michael McDowellLong John Silver's Ford20015Running
23131Kurt BuschMonster Energy Chevrolet20022Running
24712Ryan BlaneyMenards/Moen Ford20021Running
251936Matt Tifft #Meijer Ford19912Running
26388Daniel Hemric #Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet19911Running
272643Bubba WallaceVictory Junction Chevrolet19910Running
281817Ricky Stenhouse JrFastenal Ford1999Running
293015Ross Chastain(i)Chevrolet1980Running
302800Landon Cassill(i)StarCom Fiber/Creek Enterprise Inc Chevrolet1960Running
313227* Quin HouffChevrolet1966Running
323352Austin TheriaultBANGOR BANK Ford1945Running
331210Aric Almirola3D Systems Ford1935Running
341048Jimmie JohnsonAlly Chevrolet1923Running
353577Garrett Smithley(i)VictoryLaneQuickOilChange/Kendall Chevrolet1920Running
363451Cody Ware(i)JACOB COMPANIES Ford1910Running
37514Clint BowyerOne Cure Ford1393Accident
383653* Spencer Boyd(i)CHELLE CORPORATION Ford1230Accident

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