Harvick Rolls To Victory At Michigan
Last week, Kevin Harvick dreaded the thought of racing at Michigan International Speedway. On Sunday afternoon, he was probably thinking he couldn’t wait to return.
Harvick passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with 11 laps to go and went on to win the Carfax 400 Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at MIS.
It was his first ever victory at the track he had been calling his worst.
The victory not only padded his lead in the Sprint Cup point standings – from 185 to 293 points over Jeff Gordon – it reshaped his opinion of the big, wide MIS track and also gave him one major shot of confidence to boot.
“I don’t feel like there’s anywhere we go right now that our cars should be off just because I know we’ve run good on every type of racetrack. If it’s off, the information I’m giving ‘em is not right or I got to give ‘em the right information to lead them down the road to get it where it needs to be.
“We can be off, but our cars are all capable, no matter where we’re at, to get ‘em right.”
The win was the third of the season for Harvick. It gave him up 10 more Chase bonus points and officially locked himself into the Chase, which is now just three races away.
His margin of victory over Hamlin was 1.7 seconds.
“This means a lot to us,” Harvick said. “It was very important. This is what we think is our worst track.”
Gordon, who was running near the front most of the day, faded after suffering a flat tire with 46 laps to go. He finished 27th.
Hamlin finished second to Harvick and Carl Edwards was third. Hamlin moved up three spots to third in points with his finish. Edwards moved from ninth to seventh.
“We had the fastest car at the end,” Edwards said, “we just didn’t have enough time. Our Fords ran really well, we had three in the top five and it is glad to have Jack back here at the race track. I wish we could have got a win for him. We are making a lot of ground up in the points and getting stronger. I love racing at this race track. It is fun. You slide all over the place here. We are getting pretty close to everyone, which is good.”
Greg Biffle, who led a race-best 67 laps, was fourth. His Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth was fifth, giving the team thee drivers in the top five at MIS.
“We had a really fast car,” Biffle said. “We got a weird set of tires in the middle of the race and were super-tight. I didn’t adjust on it and then I came back loose again and we did two and it wasn’t very good, so at the end I said, ‘I’m going to leave it alone,’ and I put four on it and that was almost as loose as I had been all day. I could carve through traffic there, but then when I got in clean air there was too much air on the front of the car and I was too loose to catch the rest of the guys. I had a lot of fun racing today.”
Tony Stewart, who led 36 laps, was sixth.
In the battle for the final Chase berth, Clint Bowyer finished 13th and moved past Mark Martin, who slapped the wall and damaged his car early, finished a lap down. The margin between them is 45 points.
“I ran into the back of the No. 82 (Scott Speed),” Martin said. “He lifted for Juan (Montoya) and I didn’t know it was time to lift yet and I pounded him pretty hard and that really messed it up. But I put us behind anyway earlier in the race getting up against the outside wall. So we got a little behind because of that too. It was, oh, I’ll call it my mistake but we are racing hard. And that was a case of me racing too hard, too early for sure. But that would have been too hard even late because it messed me up; it would have messed me up late or early. I was charged up and excited and amped up when the race started and had to hammer down a little bit more than I control.
“We’ll keep pounding no matter what,” Martin said.No Comment