Kevin Harvick was the man to beat on Sunday afternoon sweeping both stages and taking home a commanding three-plus second victory at Michigan International Speedway for the Consumers Energy 400. Harvick picked up his series-leading 7th victory of the season and 7 playoff points to put him in the lead of Kyle Busch in both categories now with 40 playoff points to Busch’s 35 and 7 wins to 6. Harvick led 108 of 200 laps and really wasn’t challenged for the race lead all day outside of cycling through pit stops and the start of the race.
Kyle Busch started on the inside-pole alongside teammate Denny Hamlin who swept all three rounds of qualifying. Busch finished second in both stages to the No. 4 Busch Light Mobil 1 Ford, but didn’t have quite what it took to catch the Stewart Haas machine all day. The No. 18 finished 3rd on the day after Brad Keselowski who came out in front of the 18 during the conclusion of stage two. Austin Dillon was on his way to a runner-up finish when he thought he had a flat coming to the white flag and had to coast it around for a solid 4th place result. It’s the first top five for the RCR No. 3 since Dilllon won the Daytona 500. Ryan Blaney ran in the top-5 all day and wound up taking home a 5th place finish while pole-sitter Hamlin took home 8th position.
Although the series won’t make another stop on a two-mile track like Michigan in the playoffs, this was the last real pure speed test before the playoffs and the faster tracks that remain on the schedule. Harvick and the Stewart Haas Racing team showed how much further ahead of the competition they are in that department on Sunday pulling away from the trailing cars all day long. When you have cars going into the corners at 215+ mph, speed and what you have under the hood in that engine makes the world of difference. That Roush Yates engine stood the test and Harvick paced the Ford’s for his 44th career win, tying him with Hall of Famer Bill Elliott for 17th all-time.
“The most important thing is winning races right now and getting all the points that you can get to position yourself well to get to Homestead. That’s what we’ve been trying to do all year is win races. That was our only goal. We didn’t want to learn anything. We don’t want to do anything different. We just want to go out, and we want to win,” Harvick said.
Harvick celebrated an awesome moment with his son Keelan following the victory. The 6-year-old Harvick ran across the track to grab the checkered flag and hopped in for the victory lap riding shotgun next to his dad. What an awesome moment for Harvick to have his son there along for the ride after a dominating performance on the track. “For him to be here and able to do that and be a part of NASCAR and bring your son to work and do all the things that we get to do with our kids, I have had him with me by myself the last three weeks and we have had a ball. I couldn’t be happier to be a dad and be a part of NASCAR where they let your family come to the race track and be a part of it,” Harvick said.
The series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for some short-track night racing at the world’s last great coliseum on Saturday night.