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SEP 9, 2019 | Ford Performance Staff

Harvick Wins Brickyard 400; Ford Claims 7 of 16 Playoff Spots

Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It was a dominating victory for Kevin Harvick and a statement of superiority for his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang team as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads toward its 10-race playoff.

In all, it was a dominant day for Ford with Joey Logano finished second and the Blue Oval taking five of the top-10 spots and claiming the final two playoff spots, giving the manufacturer seven of the 16-drivers in the field.

It was also heartbreak for Daniel Suarez, as he chased Ryan Newman over the final nine laps of the with the final playoff berth in the balance. Suarez smacked the outside wall early, sending him to pit road a couple of times to try and get his No. 41 Ford fixed. The impact sent him tumbling down the leaderboard — and, therefore, standings — and he was unable to recover to advance to the playoffs, especially after an untimely late caution during a pit cycle.

Newman came home eighth, as he and fifth-place finisher Clint Bowyer locked up the final two playoff spots. 

But the story of the race was Harvick, who was in a class by himself. The 2014 series champion won the second stage and during the final nine laps of the race sped to a 6.118-second advantage over runner-up Joey Logano.

Harvick started from the pole, led five times for 119 laps and controlled the event, except for one 19-lap stretch when eventual seventh-place finisher Ryan Blaney grabbed the top spot after a restart on Lap 112.

This was Harvick’s first Brickyard victory with his current SHR contingent, but it was his second overall, the first coming 16 years ago. Harvick won for the third time this season and the 48th time in his career, tying Herb Thomas for 15th on the all-time list and moving to one win behind his car owner, Tony Stewart.

The Monster Energy Series Playoffs begin next Sunday, Sept. 15, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

MENCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st - Kevin Harvick

2nd - Joey Logano
3rd - Bubba Wallace
4th - William Byron
5th - Clint Bowyer
6th - Denny Hamlin
7th - Ryan Blaney
8th - Ryan Newman
9th - Chase Elliott
10th - Paul Menard

REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
14th - Aric Almirola
17th - Michael McDowell
19th - Corey LaJoie
20th - David Ragan
31st - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
32nd - Matt Tifft
38th - Brad Keselowski

FULL 2019 PLAYOFF FIELD
1. Kyle Busch, 2,045 points
2. Denny Hamlin, 2,030 points
3. Martin Truex Jr., 2,029 points
4. Kevin Harvick, 2,028 points
5. Joey Logano, 2,028 points
6. Brad Keselowski, 2,024 points

7. Chase Elliott, 2,018 points
8. Kurt Busch, 2,011 points
9. Alex Bowman, 2,005 points
10. Erik Jones, 2,005 points
11. Kyle Larson, 2,005 points
12. Ryan Blaney, 2,004 points
13. William Byron, 2,001 points
14. Aric Almirola, 2,001 points
15. Clint Bowyer, 2,000 points
16. Ryan Newman, 2,000 points

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang -- Finished 1st
CONGRATULATIONS.  YOU HAVE WON THE BRICKYARD 400 AGAIN.  “Yeah, this is great.  Got to say thanks to all the fans.  Can't tell you how much ‑‑ yeah, that's great.  How much coming to Indianapolis means 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.”

YOU SAW YOUR WHOLE TEAM CLIMB DOWN HERE.  WHAT DO THESE GUYS MEAN TO YOU? “Well, they built a great race car.  Just got to thank everybody from ‑‑ can't say enough about everybody on this Mobil 1 Ford Mustang.  These guys on this race team, they built a heck of a race car. This is the same stuff that we took to Michigan and had a real good weekend there, obviously, and went to Victory Lane.  So, to come here to the Brickyard, I know how much this means to Rodney and Dax and all these guys that work on this car because we've been so close to winning here before.”

I KNOW THIS PLACE BRINGS SO MUCH EMOTION FOR YOU, YOUR HERO RICK MEARS WON HERE FOUR TIMES.  WHAT DOES THE SECOND WIN AT THE BRICKYARD 400 MEAN FOR YOU AND THIS 4 TEAM HEADING INTO THE PLAYOFFS? “Well, I know how much it means to everybody on our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang team.  Just got to thank Busch beer, Jimmy John's, Hunt Brother, Haas Automation, everybody at Stewart‑Haas Racing, all these guys that make this car go around, I know how much this means to really everybody, and this is a great engine package that Roush Yates has been to Victory Lane twice now, once at Michigan and the same engine here.  That's a huge credit to those guys and Mobil 1 for everything that they put under this car. Just can't thank everybody enough. This is awesome. I kept telling myself, get the baby girl a trophy. Good weekend to come, so she doesn't quite know what's going on, just a lot of noise, but pretty special.”

FOR YOU GUYS TO WIN THE POLE, DOMINATE LIKE YOU DID, WHAT KIND OF STATEMENT IS THAT IN THE FINAL RACE OF THE REGULAR SEASON HEADING INTO THE PLAYOFFS?  “Yeah, I don't know if we had the best car, but we had the fastest car.  We gave up the lead there on one of those restarts and then we came and pitted, and the caution came out, and it worked our way.  We've given so many away just because of circumstances here, and the way that the caution flag fell today actually worked in our favor.  It gave us control of the race and we were able to keep control of the race and not make any mistakes and here we are in Victory Lane at one of the greatest places on earth to race.”

PLAYOFF BUBBLE DRIVER QUOTES

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Acorns Ford Mustang - Finished 8th - CLINCHED FINAL PLAYOFF SPOT
“That was a struggle at a lot of times. At the end of the first stage I had a lot of confidence and at the end of the second stage I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence. We just stuck our nose to the grindstone and the 41 got himself in a pickle there and we were able to hold him off. That was part of the race. The other part of the race was we didn’t have a fast enough race car to be able to go up there and lead and we need to be able to do that in the next three races.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR TEAM AND HOW FAR THEY HAVE COME THIS YEAR? “I guess if you look at our roster there are more new people on our team together for the first time than all the other teams put together and I am proud that we were able to take that and use our collective experience of our own knowledge from places and things we have done and turn that into a playoff position. Now we just have to do something with it.”

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO GO ALL THE WAY? “We were eighth today. If we can do that three times we will be in good shape.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush/Cummins Ford Mustang -  Finished 5th - CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT
TO GET INTO THE PLAYOFFS MUST BE GREAT:
“Well, winning would be better. There is nothing better than winning. Playoffs are obviously a good thing and you have to be in the playoffs to win a championship. I am looking forward to some of those tracks. I look back at Richmond and I should have won that race. I should have done what I needed to do and moved him that day and went on and won the race and drove off into the sunset. I didn’t and I still think about that. You can understand how important is. You still think about that a race and how easy the rest of our season would have been had I done that. That being said, we are going back to some of those tracks that are really good race tracks for us and they are good opportunities for a win.”

DID YOU HAVE HIGH ANXIETY MOMENTS IN THE CAR TODAY? “I bet you did and you weren’t even in my damn car. You are damn right I did. You knew it going in. You knew it was going to be high anxiety and crazy like that. But you just don't know where it is going to be coming from. We qualified good but I still knew that was good but I was walking away from my car saying, ‘The worst is yet to happen.’ Literally Mike and I talked before the race and he talked about how if a caution came out around lap 10 it would present an opportunity for somebody and a mishap for somebody else. It presented an opportunity to the 6 car. I didn’t want to give those points up. We were able to get the exact same scenario flipped with the roles reversed on the next stage and got those points back and we got our eight points back to the good there and got a point on the 41, so we were up nine points. I was keeping track. Then the 48 had trouble. I really wasn’t worried about the 48 all day long. It was going to take something catastrophic for him to be able to catch me. The other two we just had to manage. It was a deal where we just managed the day. You could see pretty damn early on that it was going to be a war of attrition and it certainly was.”

“We have 10 races and look at the last three races where they have been single-digit finishes for us. That will get you a round or maybe two and builds confidence and momentum with our race team. That is what it takes. We are doing the right things and putting ourselves in the right situations to capitalize on other peopls mishaps instead of being the one that makes the mishap.”

YOUR TEAM ALMOST GOT ALL FOUR GUYS: “It was super close to getting all four in. Look where Kevin is at right now. A dominant run with him and the 4 car. We have to keep building man. We are working hard and digging and trying to get better. We are by no means the fastest group right now and we know that but we looked pretty damn fast today.” 

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang - FINISHED 11th
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR DAY TODAY AND THE EMOTIONS?
“I made a little mistake there. I wasn’t expecting how aero loose the car got when I got behind the 24. The car actually was pretty good after that though. The guys were able to fix it. It was mostly cosmetic. The guys were able to fix it and the car was just as good as before. I feel like after that the day went smooth other than getting caught in the pit road cycle on the last stop. That made us lose all our track position and it was very difficult to overcome that. We fought hard. We made it all the way back to 11th and I feel like if we had 15 more laps I was going to get the 6 but that is racing. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

THE RESTART WITH NINE TO GO, YOU NEEDED TO GAIN ABOUT FIVE SPOTS TO CATCH NEWMAN. WERE YOU OPTIMISTIC AT THAT POINT OR DID YOU THINK IT WOULD BE TOO HARD? “I thought I was going to make it. I had the confidence that I was going to make it. Unfortunately everyone was racing side-by-side and it was very had to do it when you have only eight laps. I feel like my car was a little better than his but we were running out of time and track position.”

ARE YOU DEVASTATED, JUST DISAPPOINTED? WHAT ARE YOUR EMOTIONS RIGHT NOW? “A little disappointed. I feel like our team has been okay this year and we deserved to be in there. It is what it is. We have made some mistakes this year. We just weren’t good enough this weekend. Qualifying was wide open and we qualified 20th. We just didn’t have the straightaway speed this weekend for whatever reason. We have to keep working on it and try to keep getting better.”

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford Mustang - FINISHED 10th 
“It was an up and down day for us. We qualified really good. We were really tight to start. That has happened to us the last two weeks where we fired off really tight and had to free up throughout the race. We finally got some track position back at the end and had a couple good restarts and got a top-10, so overall, not a bad day.”

FORD PLAYOFF DRIVER QUOTES

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang - FINISHED 2nd
SOUNDED LIKE YOUR CAR GOT SHAKY AT THE END:
“Yeah, something was vibrating at the end but the 4 was the best car. We were the second-best car of the cars that were still running. That may actually mean we were about a fourth place car in general. I am proud of our Shell Pennzoil team. We needed a solid day. We have had a rough month. It was nice to be able to finish where we should and have a shot at winning the race. I would like to do it again. I don't know if I had something for ‘em. I was hoping for a caution and a green-white-checkered finish at the end. He was just too far up there to catch and I was waiting for it. It is a good momentum builder for the playoffs coming up. We will head into Vegas, a track we won at the last time we were there and coming off a solid finish here. We are ready to go.”

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE EMOTION AND PRESSURE YOU WILL FEEL THE NEXT 10 WEEKS? “I love it. It is the best part of the year. This to me is maybe the most stressful, yes, but I always say that the pressure is what brings the best out of you. You are able to find things in yourself that you didn’t know were there. This is the time of the year as a driver and a person that I grow more than any other time of the year.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Wabash National Ford Mustang - FINISHED 7th
“You just see where you end up. It is nice to be a part of it. I thought we showed a lot of speed today with nothing to show for it. I am just looking forward to the last 10 races. It is something that everyone dreams about at the beginning of the year. You just want a shot at it. Hopefully we can get by the first round. I think we have some really great tracks for us after that and we will see what we can do.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield/Meijer Ford Mustang - Finished 14th 
HOW WAS THE RACING TODAY?
“It was a crazy race today. Track position was really important and restarts were crazy and really important. You just have to go. You have to go all the time. you can’t give up spots on pit road or restarts. Once it gets single-filed out it is really tough.”

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE BACK IN THE PLAYOFFS? “To be able to make it back into the playoffs and have a shot to run for a championship is great. Everything has to be better when you get to the playoffs. The car has to be better, the driver has to be better. I have to do a better job on restarts. We have to do a better job on pit road. It all stacks up. It all matters. I think when you get to the playoffs, everybody brings a whole other level and hopefully we can rise to the occasion like we did last year.”

DOES LAST YEAR’S EXPERIENCE HELP YOU? “I think so. I feel like going through this last year and the pressure and everything that goes with it really gives me a good understanding. I am not going into it blind. I really know what to expect and I know the level of intensity that is getting ready to come.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang - Retired after accident on lap 52
THAT WAS A WILD RIDE. WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU?
“Yeah, I sure would like to see the replay first. We had new tires and we were racing some cars that didn’t have new tires and wanted to make the pass there and got real tight to the 48 and lost the nose in the air. I was trying to leave room and probably came down on Erik (Jones) more than I thought I did and he got real loose. No air on my car. I hit the wall there. There is this spot on the wall with just an atrocious angle. I don't know what that spot is for but it does not need to be there, but we found it. That is how racing goes. We find the things. This track really was part of the safety revolution about 15-20 years ago and I think it is time for another.”

THE TV GUYS WERE SAYING WITH THAT BAD WALL ANGLE, MAYBE THAT WAS A GOOD SPOT FOR THE TIRES GIVEN THE ANGLE OF THE WALL: “That is an interesting conclusion. I am not sure I agree with that. I think there probably should not be weird angles like that to wreck on. It is what it is and I am glad I am okay. It is just a tough day for everyone on the Discount Tire Ford team.”

WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM AS YOU HEAD TOWARDS THE PLAYOFFS? “We certainly had a really strong start to the season and haven’t quite had the middle of the season that we want to have but I think we have a great chance of putting it all together in the playoffs. One of the things we learned last year is you can be really great here but what really matters is the last five or six races. Hopefully that is where we shine.”

YOU HAVE A LOT OF PLAYOFF EXPERIENCES, HOW DOES THAT HELP YOU? “It is good. We speak the same language and have relationships and hopefully we can make that count for us.”

ARE YOU ABLE TO HIT THE RESET BUTTON NOW HEADING INTO THE PLAYOFFS? “It is a long season and it is grueling and you are worn down from the first 25 or 26 weeks, but that is how it is supposed to be.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR TEAM HEADING INTO VEGAS? “I think we have been really strong the last few years in the opening rounds of the playoffs and I would expect that to continue.”