Kevin Harvick Wins Brickyard 400; 2019 NASCAR Playoff Field Setby Hunter Thomas September 8, 2019 0 comments
INDIANAPOLIS – Kevin Harvick held on to the lead in the closing laps on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to win his second-career Brickyard 400.
Harvick absolutely dominated the afternoon, leading 118 of the 160 laps, but on a late-race restart with less than 10 laps to go, he had to hold off defending series champion, Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace. Harvick easily did so and won by 6.118 seconds en route to the victory in the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard presented by Florida Georgia Line, his third win of the season.
“Yeah, I don’t know if we had the best car, but we had the fastest car,” Harvick said. “We gave up the lead there on one of those restarts and then we came and pitted, and the caution came out, and it worked our way. We’ve given so many away just because of circumstances here, and the way that the caution flag fell today actually worked in our favor. It gave us control of the race and we were able to keep control of the race and not make any mistakes and here we are in Victory Lane at one of the greatest places on earth to race.”
Logano and Wallace held on to finish second and third respectively. William Byron finished fourth, and Clint Bowyer, who finished fifth, claimed the 15th seed in the NASCAR Playoffs after avoiding multiple accidents throughout the afternoon.
“Playoffs are obviously a good thing and you have to be in the playoffs to win a championship,” Bowyer said. “I am looking forward to some of those tracks. I look back at Richmond and I should have won that race. I should have done what I needed to do and moved him that day and went on and won the race and drove off into the sunset. I didn’t and I still think about that. You can understand how important is. You still think about that a race and how easy the rest of our season would have been had I done that. That being said, we are going back to some of those tracks that are really good race tracks for us and they are good opportunities for a win.”
Finishing not too far behind Bowyer was Ryan Newman who claimed the 16th and final NASCAR Playoff seed after earning an eighth-place finish at Indianapolis on Sunday.
“At the end of the first stage I had a lot of confidence and at the end of the second stage I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence,” Newman said. “We just stuck our nose to the grindstone and the 41 (Daniel Suarez) got himself in a pickle there and we were able to hold him off. That was part of the race. The other part of the race was we didn’t have a fast enough race car to be able to go up there and lead and we need to be able to do that in the next three races.”
Bubble drivers missing out on the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Playoffs this year were Daniel Suarez and seven-time champion, Jimmie Johnson, who was involved in a eight-car crash on lap 106. This year will mark the first time Johnson as ever missed the NASCAR Playoffs.
“Well, first of all, I think it’s pretty impressive the run we’ve been on to be in the Playoffs for this many consecutive years,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure who is close, but I don’t think they’re very close. So, we have that to be proud of. Sure we wanted it to continue on, but the goal is to win a race. This team is getting stronger each and every week and (crew chief) Cliff Daniels is doing an amazing job of leading this group of Ally’s, and we’re ready to roll. We’ll dust ourselves off and go to Vegas and try to get a trophy.”
The Brickyard 400 on Sunday was the final race of the Regular Season. Kyle Busch leads the NASCAR Playoff standings, followed by Denny Hamlin (-15), Martin Truex Jr. (-16), Harvick (-17), Logano (-17), Brad Keselowski (-21), Chase Elliott (-27), Kurt Busch (-34), Alex Bowman (-40), Erik Jones (-40), Kyle Larson (-40), Ryan Blaney (-41), Byron (-44), Aric Almirola (-44), Bowyer (-45) and Newman (-45).
The first race of the Round of 16 will be held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 15. Live coverage of the South Point 400 will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 7 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images