Kevin Harvick made an emphatic statement in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 311 at Dover International Speedway, with one race remaining until the Playoffs. Harvick led an astonishing 223 laps in the 311 lap contest. It honestly looked like Harvick had 100-more horsepower than the rest of the field.
Harvick, by winning, broke a tie with Denny Hamlin for most wins in 2020. Harvick now has seven victories this season.
This win also marks Ford’s 700th win in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
Harvick, who won Stages 1 and 2 as well in the race, also secured the regular season championship during Stage 2, which will net him an additional 15 Playoff Points.
Martin Truex Jr. finished second for the second day in a row at Dover, which extends his streak of top-three finishes to seven in a row, and he has eight top-threes in his last nine starts.
Jimmie Johnson gambled on a late-race caution and took just two tires to have a shot at the win. The driver of the No. 48 didn’t win, but he did find a way to hold on for a solid third-place finish.
William Byron finished a spot behind Johnson in fourth. The two Hendrick Motorsports teammates are in a fierce battle for the final Playoff spot. After Sunday’s race, Byron holds the advantage over Johnson by just four points.
Alex Bowman capped off the top-five finishers in the race.
Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon and Cole Custer rounded out the top-10 finishers on the day.
Matt DiBenedetto, who looked like a near certainty to make the Playoffs a few weeks ago, now sits just nine points to the good after a 17th-place finish on Sunday. Next weekend at Daytona, it will be a real battle between Johnson, Byron and DiBenedetto to see who makes it into the Playoffs.
Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch all locked their place in the 2020 Playoffs on Sunday.
Here is the bubble heading into Daytona:
14. Clint Bowyer, +57 points
15. Matt DiBenedetto, +9
16. William Byron, +4
17. Jimmie Johnson, -4
18. Erik Jones, -50
19. Tyler Reddick, -69
While it realistically looks like a battle between DiBenedetto, Byron and Johnson for the final Playoff berth spots, if a driver inside the top-30 of the driver standings — who isn’t already locked into the Playoffs — wins next week at Daytona, they would automatically lock their spot in, meaning two of the three drivers mentioned would not make the Playoffs.
It’ll be a nerve-racking race next weekend.
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.