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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick wins Brickyard 400

Kevin Harvick leads the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sept. 8, 2019 (photo from Getty Images for NASCAR).


Kevin Harvick dominated the Big Machine Vodka 400 at The Brickyard on Sunday, leading 118 of the 160 laps that made up the race, for his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his third series win of the 2019 season.

“This is great, just got to say thanks to all the fans,” Harvick said. “Can’t tell you how much coming to Indianapolis (meant) to me as a kid. I watched Rick Mears win Indy 500s and got to be around him as a kid, and he was my hero. So coming here and winning here is pretty awesome.”

Ford took the top-two spots in the finishing order with Joey Logano taking runner-up honors.

Darrell Wallace Jr. scored his second-career top-five with a third-place finish. William Byron and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five.

With his top-five finish, Bowyer secured on of the two remaining positions for the playoffs, scheduled to get underway Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman were tied for 16th in the points standings, heading into Indy. Suarez held the provisional advancing position into the 16-driver playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker, but after Sunday’s race, Newman was in and Suarez out after Newman finished eighth to Suarez’s 11th.

One other driver had a shot of getting into the playoffs on points — Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, though, saw his playoff hopes fly out the window when he was caught up in a wreck with Paul Menard, Daniel Hemric and Kurt Busch on a lap-105 restart. Johnson missed the playoffs for the first time in his Cup Series career.

“Yeah, it’s really disappointing,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, we had a bad 25 races that led to the position we’re in here today, and we needed a stellar day. I think we were having a strong day. I’m really proud of my team with what’s been going on. The No. 1 car (Busch) had a little trouble on the restart. I’m on the inside going into the corner, and it was just super tight. It’s unfortunate that happened. Certainly, it’s not what we needed on that restart. I couldn’t go below the white line and kind of got snipped, there, and turned around and around and around we go.”

Johnson, who leads active drivers with four Brickyard wins, was one of multiple former Indianapolis winners to have significant trouble. The 2018 winner, Brad Keselowski, wrecked with Erik Jones, last year’s runner-up, on lap 49. Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Kyle Busch blew his engine on lap 89.

“We just left pit road, and we were just coming up through the gears,” Busch said. “Everything was fine. We got to fourth. We made it all the way to turn two on the apron, there, and then tried to blend up in traffic, and it just let go. I don’t know. We weren’t as good as we wanted to be, where we thought we could run with those guys. We were definitely struggling in the long run, similar to yesterday (in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race). We thought we qualified a little better than we should, and I guess that’s probably why we weren’t quite there for the long haul and keeping downforce in the car, I guess. Just too tight, overall. I thought we were going to have a solid third to fifth, something like that, anyways, and try to come out of here with some points or some momentum going into the playoffs, but we are stuck here. Once it blew up, it knocked the brakes out of it, so I couldn’t stop coming to pit road, so I couldn’t get out of everyone’s way and not cause a caution. So sorry about that.”

Ryan Blaney was the second in the laps-led category but far from Harvick’s tally with 19 laps led. He also was the only driver to pass Harvick on the race track. Blaney passed the eventual winner on a lap-112 restart. But Harvick was back up front after a lap-128 caution after pitting just before the caution and staying on the lead lap. He cycled back to the front when the other lead-lap cars made their stops during the yellow flag.

Blaney, though, lost positions on the restart that followed and fell back to seventh by the checkered flag.

Logano challenged Harvick the remainder of the race. He was able to stay beside Harvick in the first two turns after the final restart with just under 10 laps remaining, but Harvick was able to maintain his lead and pull away in the closing laps.

Logano was the winner of the first stage that ended on lap 50 after staying out during a lap-42 caution. Varying pit strategies put Kyle Larson up front to start the second stage, but when the race restarted, Harvick moved back into the lead.

Harvick was the winner of the second stage.

Denny Hamlin finished sixth after starting in the back in a backup car. Chase Elliott finished ninth, and Paul Menard was 10th.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard:

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Posted by on September 8, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,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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