Harvick saves fuel to win in Michigan

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."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]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

Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Pts Status
1 2 4 Kevin Harvick Mobil 1 Ford 200 45 Running
2 14 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota 200 44 Running
3 17 42 Kyle Larson McDonald's Chevrolet 200 34 Running
4 15 19 Martin Truex Jr Auto-Owners Insurance/MTJ 500th Start Toyota 200 52 Running
5 11 41 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Ford 200 32 Running
6 22 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota 200 41 Running
7 29 47 Ryan Preece # Kroger Chevrolet 200 30 Running
8 3 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 200 38 Running
9 6 9 Chase Elliott NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet 200 35 Running
10 4 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 200 30 Running
11 21 13 Ty Dillon K&L Ready Mix Chevrolet 200 26 Running
12 20 6 Ryan Newman Wyndham Rewards Ford 200 25 Running
13 37 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 200 24 Running
14 25 37 Chris Buescher Kroger Fast Start Chevrolet 200 23 Running
15 9 21 Paul Menard MasterTechs/QuickLaneTire&AutoCenter Ford 200 23 Running
16 24 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 200 21 Running
17 8 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 200 34 Running
18 16 20 Erik Jones DeWalt Toyota 200 25 Running
19 1 2 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Ford 200 26 Running
20 27 95 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota 200 17 Running
21 31 32 Corey LaJoie Schuler Systems Ford 200 16 Running
22 23 34 Michael McDowell Long John Silver's Ford 200 15 Running
23 13 1 Kurt Busch Monster Energy Chevrolet 200 22 Running
24 7 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Moen Ford 200 21 Running
25 19 36 Matt Tifft # Meijer Ford 199 12 Running
26 38 8 Daniel Hemric # Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet 199 11 Running
27 26 43 Bubba Wallace Victory Junction Chevrolet 199 10 Running
28 18 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fastenal Ford 199 9 Running
29 30 15 Ross Chastain(i) Chevrolet 198 0 Running
30 28 00 Landon Cassill(i) StarCom Fiber/Creek Enterprise Inc Chevrolet 196 0 Running
31 32 27 * Quin Houff Chevrolet 196 6 Running
32 33 52 Austin Theriault BANGOR BANK Ford 194 5 Running
33 12 10 Aric Almirola 3D Systems Ford 193 5 Running
34 10 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 192 3 Running
35 35 77 Garrett Smithley(i) VictoryLaneQuickOilChange/Kendall Chevrolet 192 0 Running
36 34 51 Cody Ware(i) JACOB COMPANIES Ford 191 0 Running
37 5 14 Clint Bowyer One Cure Ford 139 3 Accident
38 36 53 * Spencer Boyd(i) CHELLE CORPORATION Ford 123 0 Accident

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