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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick wins fuel-mileage race at Michigan

BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN – AUGUST 09: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Ford, walks to his car during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 09, 2019 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kevin Harvick claimed his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the 2019 season Sunday in the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The win was Harvick’s second-straight of the yearly August race at MIS and the fourth-straight at the track for Ford.

“Well, you remember those days when you made the most power and you had the best fuel mileage, right?  It’s nice,” Harvick said. ”Doug (Yates) and everybody at Roush Yates Engines does a great job, and obviously, Ford puts a big circle around these two Michigan races to come up here and be the top manufacturer, and when you look at our engine program, I think that these particular race tracks really fit the style of our torque curves and the things that we do, and it was right in our wheelhouse. A lot of things different on the car from the first race.  The evolution of these race cars is rapid, and when you talk about the engine shop, obviously, Mobil 1 is a huge part of that in being able to develop new oils, and today was no different with the new oil and things in the car. It was a good day and a lot of pieces coming together, and hopefully, when we get to Las Vegas, there will be a few more come together, as well.”

Denny Hamlin finished second, Kyle Larson was third, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth, and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five

“We were right there. Really fast car,” Hamlin said. “The FedEx team did a great job adjusting from the last time we were here. First and second on these tracks that we are going back to for a second time. They are just doing a great job making those adjustments. Nothing that I could really do, just didn’t have enough speed. The 4 [Harvick] was about a half-a-second faster than us in qualifying.”

Sunday’s race wound up a fuel mileage affair after teams pitted during the sixth and final caution of the race for a Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spin on lap 148 of the 200-lap race, just outside the fuel-mileage window of a comfortable run to the finish.

Harvick resrtarted outside the top-five, but with 29 laps remaining, he took third from Brad Keselowski. With 28 to go, he took second from Ryan Blaney and the lead from Joey Logano with 17 to go.

Several drivers went into fuel-conservation mode in the closing laps, and a few drivers, including Logano and Keselowski, pitted in the final laps for splashes of fuel, and others, inclduing Blaney, ran out of gas. Harvick, meanwhile, built up a large lead, seeming to not go into fuel-conservation mode until he had he had built up a large lead.

“Man, I want this one so bad,” Keselowski said. “We got that flat tire early on, and we recovered and got up to third, there, in the late stages, and then, we just ran out of gas. That is just the way it goes sometimes.”

The race wasn’t flawless for Harvick, though. He was a lap down early in the race after an unscheduled pit stop for a tire problem. A cycle of green-flag pit stops for everyone else a few laps later, though, got Harvick back on the lead lap and back on track, so to speak.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Truex and Kyle Busch were stage winners, with Truex running up front when the first stage ended at lap 60 and Busch running up front at lap 120, the end of stage two.

Brad Keselowski started on the pole and led the first 39 laps of the race before he was passed by Denny Hamlin on lap 40. Truex, after starting in the back, was up front when a cycle of green-flag pit stops completed on lap 49 after pitting late in the cycle and taking fuel only.

“It was a hot rod early,” Truex said of his car. “We were able to drive by everybody. The first couple runs of the race were really sporty. To get up there and win stage one was a big deal. I felt, through the middle of the race, we had the best car. Just those last couple restarts, we got off sequence and lost all of our track position and restarted 19th. Just could not get in the right spot. Every restart we were in the wrong lane; we lost spots. Then, we would just have to pick them off one at a time. Amazing race car. Thanks to everyone back at JGR, Toyota and TRD. The Auto Owners Camry was a rocket ship today. Just didn’t get to show it at the end.”

Truex fell to the back of the top-10 after winning the first stage when he took four tires while at least eight drivers took only two. With a two-tire stop, Keselowski was back up front for the restart early in the second stage.

Truex was able to retake the lead on lap 91 and ran up front until pitting under green for another fuel-only stop on lap 110. He cycled back to the front, but after a restart following a lap-115 caution for a Keselowski spin, Busch took the lead from him on the restart and took the second-stage win a lap later.

Logano took the lead from Busch when the race restarted for the final 80-lap stage of the race. Logano’s Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney also led laps, and at one point, all three Penske drivers, also including Keselowski, ran one-two-three before Harvick took his race-winning lead.

Finishing the race in the sixth through 10th positions were Busch; Ryan Preece; and the Hendrick Motorsports trio of William Byron, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway:

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Posted by on August 11, 2019. 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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