Kevin Harvick Completes Michigan Sweep After Holding Off Hamlin For Sixth Winby Hunter Thomas August 10, 2020 0 comments
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Kevin Harvick held off Denny Hamlin to sweep the NASCAR Cup Series weekend at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday and claim his sixth win of the season.
In the closing laps of the Consumers Energy 400, Harvick and Hamlin battled each other for the top spot. With aerodynamics being key to speed at the 2-mile oval, the two drivers would swap lanes in each corner trying to earn an advantage. On the final lap of the race, Harvick chose the slower low lane through Turns 3 and 4, but he was able to block Hamlin’s momentum and win by 0.93 seconds.
“It was a big challenge,” Harvick said. “Our Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang got really tight there in three and four. I could run really good through one and two still, but I was just tight on that other end all day. So I’ve just got to thank all my guys. They did a great job all weekend on pit road. Great pit calls.”
Harvick led a race high of 90 laps en route to his 55th career series win. The driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford became the first driver since Richard Petty in 1971 to win two NASCAR Cup Series races in consecutive days at the same track.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve raced back-to-back days let alone in the Cup car,” Harvick said. “I’ve never accomplished that obviously, but we’ve done that a couple times this year, so I think for us it’s worked out pretty well. We’re hoping it goes the same way at Dover when we go there in a couple of weeks.”
Hamlin, who is having an incredible season that features five wins, had to settle for a runner-up finish on Sunday. The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota caught Harvick, but he just couldn’t find away to get around him. The second-place finish was his 12th top-five effort of the season.
“Once we finally got to second, I knew we had something for him (Kevin Harvick), I just got stalled there and he was tight, I was tight,” Hamlin said. “We were better, that’s for sure. I thought if I could maybe get to his quarter panel, I could shove him higher and make him tighter, but just couldn’t quite do it. Proud of this whole FedEx Ground Toyota team. We obviously had a very strong run. Just needed a little bit more.”
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch finished fourth and fifth respectively. Joey Logano rounded out the top-five, followed by Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch.
Clint Bowyer won Stage 1, and Harvick won Stage 2.
There were five cautions for 24 laps. The only multicar accident occurred on lap 97, when Brad Keselowski slid up the track in Turn 2 got into his Team Penske teammate, Ryan Blaney while battling for the lead.
“I just lost it,” Keselowski said. “It’s my fault. I feel really bad for my teammate, Ryan Blaney. He didn’t deserve that. I just came off of turn four and the 4 car was behind me and he gave me a push and I swear I went into the corner like 20 miles an hour faster than I had been all day and got past the 11 and I went to get underneath the 12 and I just slipped. I lost the back a little bit and when I went to collect it he was there and I wiped him out and myself out, so I feel terrible for everyone at Team Penske and especially Ryan Blaney. Gosh, he didn’t deserve that. I should have whoa’d way up.”
The NASCAR Cup Series will visit the Daytona Road Course for the first time for the Go Bowling 325 on Sunday, August 16. Live coverage will broadcast on NBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images