Harvick survives puncture to win the NASCAR Cup round at Michigan

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick survived a stage one puncture at Michigan to claim his second NASCAR Cup Series win of 2019.

Harvick was running in second behind Penske’s Brad Keselowski in the opening stages, before he picked up a right-front puncture on his SHR Ford as he rounded Turn 3.

Diving into the pitlane for an early opening stop, Harvick eventually finished the stage in sixth having not dropped off of the lead lap, albeit now offset on strategy and largely anonymous through stage two as a result.

But Harvick returned to the front of the field in the final 50 laps, running in fifth place after the final restart in the final quarter of the 200 lap race.

Harvick managed to dive to the inside of Joey Logano at Turn 1 to seize the lead with 17 laps remaining and, critically, was comfortable with fuel mileage while his rivals immediately behind had to fuel save.

With the field having made their final scheduled pitstops with 50 laps to go, several drivers were short on fuel in the closing stages.

Logano, who won June’s Michigan race, led for 52 laps in the final stage but was forced to pit with 4 laps to go – subsequently dropping out of second place to finish 17th.

His Penske team-mates also faced late race pitstops after having locked out the top three positions at the final restart.

Ryan Blaney was forced to pit from third on the penultimate lap, while Brad Keselowski was significantly under-filled at his final pitstop and returned to the pitlane with 12 laps remaining.

Blaney ended up in 24th while Keselowski finished 17th.

Their fuel dramas allowed Denny Hamlin to inherit second place at the chequered flag.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver fought his team-mate Martin Truex Jr for stage one victory, ultimately finishing in second.

Truex had started at the rear of the field after failing pre-race technical inspection, but surged through the field to reach the top 10 within the first 20 laps.

He nearly won stage two but for a late caution with five laps to go, which negated the track position he had gained with his second fuel only pitstop of the race.

A quick restart meant points leader Kyle Busch won stage two.

Truex ended up finishing the race in fourth, ahead of Daniel Suarez, Busch and Ryan Preece, who all climbed up into the top 10 in the closing stages as drivers struggled to reach the finish.

Ryan Newman extended his lead over his playoff rivals and is now 16 points clear of the cut-line after finishing 12th.

He entered the race level on points with Jimmie Johnson, who is now 12 points adrift of a playoff place – and leap-frogged in the standings by Suarez.

Johnson was four laps down in stage one after sliding into the wall on the exit of Turn 2 while battling fellow playoff hopeful Clint Bowyer.

Bowyer, who would later be pitched into the wall and retirement by Paul Menard, is now only six points clear of the playoff threshold in 16th place.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 200 2h40m59.s
2 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 1.054s
3 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200 16.800s
4 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 18.645s
5 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 200 18.679s
6 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 22.144s
7 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 200 22.380s
8 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 22.508s
9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 23.767s
10 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 24.643s
11 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 200 24.983s
12 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 200 25.340s
13 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200 28.312s
14 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 200 28.611s
15 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 200 28.804s
16 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 200 30.079s
17 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 200 30.968s
18 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 34.481s
19 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 200 34.713s
20 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 200 38.593s
21 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 200 39.357s
22 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 200 39.775s
23 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200 45.970s
24 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 200 52.875s
25 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 199 1 Lap
26 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 199 1 Lap
27 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 199 1 Lap
28 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 199 1 Lap
29 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 198 2 Laps
30 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 196 4 Laps
31 Quin Houff Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 196 4 Laps
32 Austin Theriault Rick Ware Racing Ford 194 6 Laps
33 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 193 7 Laps
34 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 192 8 Laps
35 Garrett Smithley Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 192 8 Laps
36 Cody Ware Petty Ware Racing Ford 191 9 Laps
37 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 139 Accident
38 Spencer Boyd Rick Ware Racing Ford 123 Accident

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