Harvick Wins at Michigan

The Irish Hills of Michigan were alive with the sound of engines and a whole lotta bickering as drivers rehashed their dust-ups and feuds from Watkins Glen last Sunday. All weekend long, Kyle Busch voiced his obvious displeasure with William Byron and Bubba Wallace and the way they had raced him last weekend, seeking retailiation for being hit or punted out of the way.  Then there was Jimmie Johnson who continued his tirade with Ryan Blaney over a racing incident that Blaney felt he had already apologized for, but seemingly not enough for Johnson.

LAP 1: Michigan-native Brad Keselowski led the field from pole position when the green flag flew. Kevin Harvick started in second place and immediately tucked in behind Keselowski to avoid being hungout and freight-trained on the bottom groove.

LAP 22: Jimmie Johnson’s day took a turn for the worse when the right rear tire started to go down and his #48 Chevrolet scrubed the wall in Turn 1. Johnson’s new crew chief, Cliff Daniels, called him to pit road but the 7-time champion refused, insisting the tire was okay.  Johnson stayed out for another lap but predicatably the tire began unravelling and then damaged the rear of the car, prolonging the time on pit road for repairs. Johnson came back to pit road a few laps later with yet another issue, causing him to loose 7 laps to the leader. He would go on to finish 34th.

LAP 30: Brad Keselowski’s #2 Ford Mustang continued to pace the field while cars further back in the pack began to pit under green.

LAP 55: After pitting later than everyone, Keselowski fell back to 3rd place. This promted a battle for the top spot between Martin Truex Jr and Denny Hamlin as the stage came to a close.

STAGE 1 END – LAP 60: Truex Jr emerged victorious to take his fourth stage win of the season, with Hamlin taking 2nd. It’s worth noting that this was Truex’s celebratory 500th start in the Cup series, but he started the race from the back of the field in the wake of pre-race inspection. His #19 Toyota failed twice thus resulting in a loss of starting position and the ejection of his race engineer.  Brad Keselowski reclaimed P1 during the stage-break pitstops as Truex fell to second place.

LAP 80: The following 17 laps after the restart saw an intense duel between Keselowski and Truex for the lead as the two cars were separated by just 0.3 seconds.

LAP 91: Truex Jr was finally able to get past Keselowski for the lead and pulled away to a comfortable distance. In dirty air, Keselowski began to struggle and dropped back to 4th place behind his teammate, Joey Logano, as well as Kevin Harvick.

CAUTION – LAP 115: The first incident-related yellow flag came for Keselowski when his front tire went down in Turn 4 and he slid sideways. Kes made a excellent save to avoid damaging the car in the wall.  Though the splitter clipped the infield grass, it didn’t result in damage.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 120: Coming to the green-checkered flag, Aric Almirola slid up the track between the teammates of Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric. Almirola tagged the left quarter panel of the #3 of Austin Dillon, which spun the #3 through the infield grass, while turning himself across the nose of the #8. At the front of the field, Kyle Busch made the pass on Martin Truex Jr for the stage win.

Kurt Busch picked up the lead from his brother Kyle during pitstops under yellow. Seven laps into the run, Joey Logano took the top spot from Kurt Busch and set sail.

CAUTION – LAP 132: The #53 of Spencer Boyd got into the wall in Turn 4 and spun on the exit, bringing out the caution.

CAUTION – LAP 135: Paul Menard in the #21 got loose and drifted/got sucked up the track and clipped Clint Bowyer, who is on the playoff bubble. Bowyer spun, hitting the SAFER barrier twice on the outside wall. Bowyer was out for the day as the rear of his #14 Ford was destroyed.

CAUTION – LAP 148: The #17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr spun in Turn 4 but managed to avoid serious damage to the car. The race restarted with 47 laps to go and Joey Logano in the lead.

LAP 169: Radio chatter started as some teams signalled they wouldn’t be able to make it on fuel, namely all three Penske drivers of Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, and Brad Keselowski who were all racing in the Top 5, along with Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick.

LAP 185: Kevin Harvick got the lead from Logano just 2 laps prior to Logano having to make a pitstop for “3 seconds of gas”. One by one, Blaney and Keselowski came as well for a splash of gas to make it to the end of the race.

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 200: Without anyone to contest him, Harvick captured his second win of the season.

RESULTS: 

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Kyle Larson
  4. Martin Truex Jr
  5. Daniel Suarez
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Ryan Preece
  8. William Byron
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Alex Bowman
  11. Ty Dillon
  12. Ryan Newman
  13. Austin Dillon
  14. Chris Buescher
  15. Paul Menard
  16. David Ragan
  17. Joey Logano
  18. Erik Jones
  19. Brad Keselowski
  20. Matt DiBenedetto
  21. Corey LaJoie
  22. Michael McDowell
  23. Kurt Busch
  24. Ryan Blaney
  25. Matt Tifft
  26. Daniel Hemric
  27. Bubba Wallace
  28. Ricky Stenhouse
  29. Ross Chastain
  30. Landon Cassill
  31. Quin Houff
  32. Austin Theriault
  33. Aric Almirola
  34. Jimmie Johnson
  35. Garrett Smithley
  36. Cody Ware
  37. Clint Bowyer
  38. Spencer Boyd

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