It was smooth sailing for Kevin Harvick in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang swept Stages 1 and 2 and then held off Brad Keselowski in an overtime finish to capture his fifth victory of 2020.
For Harvick, he has swagger in his step as he embarks on sweeping the weekend double header in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan.
“The confidence is high when we come to Michigan anyway,” Harvick said. “It’s a race track that’s been really good to us and for whatever reason fits our style of cars. Everything we do with our cars at Stewart-Haas Racing, [crew chief] Rodney [Childers] and the guys always give me a great race cars at Michigan every time we come.”
Harvick led a race-high 92 laps in the 161-lap event and he was at the point in every critical moment throughout the race.
Behind Harvick and Keselowski were Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch in fifth.
Busch bounced back after being knocked from the lead by air off of Harvick’s car on lap 111.
“I mean, I didn’t just get loose and turn up to the wall by myself,” Busch explained after the race. “I don’t know if he hit me or if it was just air. It was close enough that it disturbed my car, obviously and made me have to get out of it and chase it real bad.”
Denny Hamlin was sixth, while Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Erik Jones, who was announced to not be returning to Joe Gibbs Racing earlier this week, finished just outside the top-10 in 11th after having a great day.
Several drivers found trouble on the day. John Hunter Nemechek had three incidents in the race, which increases his series-high total to 15 in 2020.
Tyler Reddick and Ryan Preece got together late, which sent Preece into the outside wall. Reddick finished 18th, while Preece finished 25th.
Cole Custer backed his No. 41 car into the wall after a tire cut down on lap 147, and a four car melee involving Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell on lap 152 set up the wild finish.
The race was exciting all day long, despite Harvick’s domination. And the new choose rule on the restarts really came into play as several drivers were able to work their way into a more favorable position than the old restart rules.
Post-Race Stat Pack:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.