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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick gets seventh win of 2018

BROOKLYN, MI – AUGUST 12: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light/Mobil 1 Ford, race during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consmers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 12, 2018 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kevin Harvick led over half of the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Sunday, despite an overheating engine in the closing laps, to claim his seventh Monster Energy Cup Series win of 2018. He led 108 of the 200 laps that made up the race on his way to breaking a tie he shared with Kyle Busch for most Cup wins, 23 races into the season.

After the race, Harvick had a passenger in son Keelan, who waved the checkered flag out the car window before the father-son duo went to victory lane.

“Keelan is saving me some work,” Harvick said. “Usually when I get home the next day, we have to mock up a victory lane celebration. 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. Gotta thank everyone from Busch Light, Mobil 1, Ford, Jimmy John’s, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing and all these fans for coming out today and supporting everything we do here in Michigan.”

Brad Keselowski finished second and Busch was third.

“We kind of clawed all day and had some good restarts with the Discount Tire Ford and got all we could get out of it but just ended up one spot short and that is so frustrating,” Keselowski said.

Harvick’s laps led included most of the 80-lap third and final stage of the race. the only laps Harvick didn’t lead in the final stage came during a cycle of green-flag pit stops inside the final 30 laps. He gave up the lead to pit on lap 171, and when the cycle completed on lap 189, he was back up front with Austin Dillon in second.

Dillon also was second to Harvick prior to the cycle, but after a two-tire stop, he lost positions to Keselowski and Busch, dropping to fourth by the checkered flag.

“First, I want to thank everybody at RCR (Richard Childress Racing) and ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing, engine supplier), Dow; we’ve got the We Are Innovators Chevy this weekend. Man, we had a fast car,” Dillon said. “I got to battle with Harvick there, and that was awesome. I’m so proud of the guys for having a car capable of doing that. Yeah, that really stunk. We were kind of in position that if something happened to the #4 [Harvick], we could win the race. With two [laps] to go, I went into [turn] three and I kind of missed the corner. When I came down the straightaway, it was just shaking like either the tire was unraveling or it was a loose wheel. But I didn’t want to lose this great finish we had in front of us, but we brought it home with a top-five at least.”

Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five.

Harvick also won both of the two 60-lap stages, leading 47 of the first 120 laps to claim his 11th and 12th stage wins of the 2018 season.

After Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Busch started on the front row and led until a lap 25 competition caution, Harvick too the lead on the lap-30 restart and ran up front for the remainder of the opening stage.

Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. combined to lead 38 laps of the second 60-lap stage, with 25 of those laps led by Truex. Johnson took only two tires to get out of the pits first between the first two stages to start up front for stage two. After losing the lead to Busch on lap 67, he took the lead, again, through pit strategy.

When the yellow flag waved on lap 75, Johnson and Truex were among four drivers who stayed out. Johnson was able to stay up front until he gave up the lead to pit during the next caution that came out on lap 84. Truex, though, stayed out again and ran out of fuel less than a lap shy of the end of stage two. He, then, was penalized for pitting before pit road opened and, again, for an uncontrolled tire. He went a lap down but got back on the lead lap during a lap-132 caution when Ty Dillon hit the wall and his car caught fire after he hit what appeared to be the backup battery from another car.

“Ran over something, whether it was a battery or a piece of lead,” Dillon said. ”I saw it, but I had nowhere to go; we were two-wide there. You can’t really turn your car out of the way quick enough to miss it. I was just hoping it was a glove or something that wouldn’t collect it. As soon as it hit, it was like hitting a wall, and I had no control of the car. I just drove it straight at 218 mph into the wall, no brakes, no nothing. So, hopefully, NASCAR finds whose piece that was, because that shouldn’t happen in our sport. There shouldn’t be batteries laying on our tracks.  Not to tear down, I know a lot of these people have to do a lot to make these cars come to the race track, but things like that can’t happen, because it’s too dangerous at a place like this.”

Truex finished 14th.

Harvick’s SHR teammates Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola finished sixth and seventh, respectively, and Hamlin was seventh. Chase Elliott finished ninth after an extra green-flag pit stop on lap 36 for a loose right-rear wheel. Joey Logano was 10th after sitting on pit road for the replacement of a left-front shock during the race parade laps and, then, starting in the back.

“It is frustrating,” Logano said. “I felt like we finished 10th with a fifth-place car today. I couldn’t restart very well, and I lost spots on every restart. I am proud of the team, though. Everyone else did good. I just wasn’t able to get anything going on the restarts, and that made life really difficult today.”

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Posted by on August 12, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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