BROOKLYN, Mich. - Kevin Harvick held on for his second victory of the season Sunday, stretching his final fuel run at Michigan International Speedway to complete a season sweep at the track for Ford.
Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford led 22 of the 200 laps in the Consumers Energy 400. His third win at the 2-mile Michigan was the 47th of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
The win actually marked the fourth straight at the track for Ford, who keeps the coveted Heritage Trophy in Dearborn for another 10 months.
Pole-starter Brad Keselowski led a race-high 66 laps in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford, but headed to pit road for fuel on Lap 189. He wound up 19th in the 38-car field. Keselowski’s teamamtes, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney also had fuel issues late as both went from running inside the top-5 to 17th and 24th place finishes, respectively.
Daniel Suarez joined Harvick in the top-10 for Ford, coming home fifth.
While Ryan Newman helped his postseason hopes with a solid 12th place effort, an incident imperiled the postseason hopes of Clint Bowyer. Bowyer’s woes struck after contact with Paul Menard’s No. 21 Ford sent his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford into the Turn 3 wall. Bowyer retired in 37th place with just 139 laps completed.
The series’ next race is scheduled for Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) at Bristol Motor Speedway.
MENCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st - Kevin Harvick
2nd - Denny Hamlin
3rd - Kyle Larson
4th - Martin Truex Jr.
5th - Daniel Suarez
6th - Kyle Busch
7th - Ryan Preece
8th - William Byron
9th - Chase Elliott
10th - Alex Bowman
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
12th - Ryan Newman
15th - Paul Menard
16th - David Ragan
17th - Joey Logano
19th - Brad Keselowski
21st - Corey LaJoie
22nd - Michael McDowell
24th - Ryan Blaney
25th - Matt Tifft
28th - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
33rd - Aric Almirola
37th - Clint Bowyer
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang - Finished 1st
Another win, congratulations: "Yeah, it was, like you say, a day of a little bit of adversity that we were able to overcome. But we just had a really fast car all weekend. Our car handled really well today, and with the multiple lanes, we were able to run all three lanes pretty well and make our way through traffic. So just really proud of everybody on our Mobil 1 Ford, everybody from Busch and Hunt Brothers and Jimmy John's and everybody back at the shop from Haas Automation and Stewart‑Haas Racing, just put a really fast car on the racetrack and we were able to capitalize on it, and that's always fun.
When Marty got to you on the racetrack, you seemed winded. "I was. The more you turn off, the faster it goes, so with like 30 to go I shut everything, all the air conditioners and foot fans and everything off, and it just got hot, and then I had to lift him up, walk him around the car and then walk back around, and it's a lot for me to get in and out of the car nowadays. Yeah, so it was ‑‑ I was a little hot."
We talk about you have good race cars, but Doug Yates that builds the engines, and you think about horsepower, you don't necessarily think about fuel mileage being that good. What do you have to do as a driver to make all of that work knowing what you had to do? "Well, you remember those days when you made the most power and you had the best fuel mileage, right? It's nice. Doug 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 racetracks 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."
Take us inside your helmet; you're running third or fourth, chasing the 11, I guess you got around the 21 and there's the 2 and all these guys. You're saving fuel and trying to get to the front at the same time to get around Logano, and when you finally got around him, what's it like racing under those conditions? "Well, for me I wasn't really having to save fuel, and I felt like the key to winning the race was getting around the 2. I felt like in clean air he was going to be the hardest one to pass. I felt like the 22 fell off as the runs went and it didn't seem like his car was going to be as good, and my car was still handling really well, top, bottom and middle. I could run anywhere on the racetrack, and I felt like his was a little more line sensitive as to where he needed to run on the racetrack. They told me I was one or two laps to the good, and when I got the lead and got a good enough distance, then I tried to start managing the throttle. It's a lot easier to manage that gap than it is to try to manage passing and saving. Yeah, we were able to do some burnouts and drive it back to Victory Lane, so we had plenty of gas."
You're getting ready to race for possibly a second championship. You're going to be in the Hall of Fame already, but talk to me as a dad how special these moments are with Keelan here. "Yeah, for me it's pretty awesome because I didn't say anything and he asked me right when I walked out the door, and he's like, hey, if we win today, I get to ride in the car again. I'm like, absolutely, you just make your way to pit road and we'll figure it out. We stepped it up a little today. We were able to do a straight‑line burnout and a donut, and I made him put my helmet on in case he flew out the side there into the roll bars. I said, you'd better put the helmet on, and we did some burnouts. So that was pretty cool."
Jeff Burton brought it up and then Marty brought it up a little bit later talking to you and talking to a couple other people. We saw it last year with the 22 team. Are you guys peaking at the right time? "Yeah, you know, we really got off on the wrong foot as far as where we needed to be on the cars, and it's been kind of an uphill battle really all year to get where we needed to be. The cars have been running a lot better as we've got into the last two months, and Dale knows this, I've been nursing a shoulder injury for the last two months to try to make sure I made it through Watkins Glen, and that was no problem. I hurt myself throwing a baseball to him, so it's cut into my golf game. So, we've had a lot of things that we've had to overcome to get to this point. But it's kind of like last year; we started off on fire, we won eight races and then didn't win the championship. In the send you want to win that championship, and hopefully we're peaking at the right time."
POST RACE QUOTES
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang - Finished 19th
“Man, I want this one so bad. 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.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang - Finished 37th -- (Retired due to accident on lap 139)
“Somebody got in the back of me. When I went around I just saw Bowman and thought it was him. I guess maybe the 21 or somebody. As soon as it happened, I was just along for the ride. I don't know. We have to get something figured out with these race tracks. We are really fast by ourselves, practice and qualifying really well, in the top-five almost every single time but then we start the race and don't make the grip we need to compete. We definitely need to find some things out. You can talk about the bubble and worrying about points but I am way more worried about getting established and running up front at these types of race tracks. If you make the playoffs and can’t compete in it then what is the use? We have some things to work out. We have some time. We have some good race tracks for us including Bristol coming up. We have plenty of racing but we have to get some things figured out.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang - Finished 24th
“I had a really good car. Our Mustang was fast, especially later in the race. I just got off pit road too early and we ended up running out of gas. It is easy to second guess those types of decisions after the race, but I didn’t second guess anything at the time. Just the way it shakes out sometimes.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang - Finished 17th
“I needed more gas. The Shell car isn’t supposed to run out of gas. The positive is we were way better than we were on Friday and Saturday. The negative is that we almost won the race but ended up finishing 17th. You win some you lose some. If the caution comes out we would have been in good shape but it stayed green, and that is it. That is the gamble. We took the gamble and it didn’t pay off. Pocono we played it the other way and the caution came out. That is two races and we played it wrong both times.”
DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 ARRIS Ford Mustang - Finished 5th
“It was a decent day for us. We had ups and downs. There was something wrong, a bad set of tires or something in that second stage. We couldn’t control it. The team was able to overcome that with good adjustments and they put me back in the game with track position and we were able to get a good result from there.”