NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan results: Kevin Harvick wins FireKeepers Casino 400, his first victory since 2020 – CBS Sports

August 8, 2022 by No Comments

Two years ago, Kevin Harvick was practically automatic when he and his team came to the racetrack, winning a total of nine times in 2020. Then, the winning stopped for 65 straight races and almost two full years — until today, when the 46-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif. took advantage of a timely late-race caution to bring him from the brink of playoff elimination to another chance to race for a championship.

After a late-race caution during a round of green flag pit stops gave him the lead, Harvick drove away over the final green flag run to win the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan by four seconds. The win was his first of the 2022 season and ended a 65-race winless streak.

Harvick’s win is the 59th of his Cup Series career — but more importantly, it puts him on the playoff grid with three races remaining after he entered Sunday as the first car below the playoff cutoff line.

FireKeepers Casino 400 unofficial results

  1. #4 – Kevin Harvick
  2. #23 – Bubba Wallace
  3. #11 – Denny Hamlin
  4. #22 – Joey Logano
  5. #12 – Ryan Blaney
  6. #19 – Martin Truex Jr.
  7. #5 – Kyle Larson
  8. #43 – Erik Jones
  9. #48 – Alex Bowman
  10. #45 – Ty Gibbs

In a race rife with pit strategy, a combination of happenings on pit road and the racetrack ended up swinging the race in Harvick’s favor. Shortly after Harvick made his final stop under green, the caution came out for a crash by Christopher Bell on the front straightaway. Harvick was able to stay out having already made his stop, while the rest of the leaders came to pit road.

Denny Hamlin won the race off pit road, but he saw his chances of winning dashed when his crew was assessed a penalty for too many men over the wall. Harvick was able to hold the lead on the ensuing restart, and he then drove away after Bubba Wallace was held up behind Joey Logano for too long to try and run Harvick down.

After Bell’s win at New Hampshire knocked Harvick below the cutoff line, crashes at Pocono and Indianapolis forced Harvick into a must-win situation. A must-win situation that played out over the final 35 laps at one of Harvick’s best racetracks.

“Everybody who doubted us,” Harvick told NBC Sports, “doesn’t know us.”

Playoff Bubble Pops

On the other side of Harvick’s trip to Victory Lane was a disastrous outcome for Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. If there hadn’t been any new winners in August, both could have felt relatively comfortable with their points position relative to the cutoff line. Now, neither driver is safe.

Harvick’s win now pits Blaney and Truex in a dogfight for the final spot in the playoffs on points, a spot Blaney currently holds by 19 points over Truex. There’s plenty that can change that scant margin over the next three weeks, and Sunday’s results showed the potential for a nightmare scenario for both drivers: Wallace scored his second runner-up finish of the season, while Erik Jones was a factor throughout the day and ran in the top five late before fading to eighth.

If anyone has a greater sense of urgency between the two, it’s likely Blaney. Next weekend at Richmond Raceway presents a golden opportunity for Truex to score a victory, as he has won the second race at Richmond two out of the last three years …….

Source: https://www.cbssports.com/nascar/news/nascar-cup-series-at-michigan-results-kevin-harvick-wins-firekeepers-casino-400-his-first-victory-since-2020/live/

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