BROOKLYN, Mich. – Kevin Harvick stretched his fuel all the way to the end of Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan Int’l Speedway, and it was enough to put him in victory lane.
On a day when many of his closest pursuers had to make splash-and-go pit stops in the final laps, Harvick kept his foot on the gas and motored home to his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season, as well as his second in a row in the August race at the two-mile Michigan oval.
After the sixth and final caution of the day waved with 52 laps left, when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun in turn four, all the frontrunners pitted for fuel on lap 150 and set up for an economy run to the finish.
Green-flag conditions resumed with 48 to go, and Harvick found himself fifth behind a trio of Team Penske Ford drivers – Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski – as well as the Penske-affiliated Wood Brothers entry of Paul Menard.
However, slowly but surely, Harvick began picking his way to the front as those ahead of him had to focus on saving fuel.
With 45 to go, Harvick dispatched Menard for fourth, and then he rode there for the next 16 circuits before turning up the wick and driving past Keselowski to move into the third position.
The next time by, Blaney dropped back to try and conserve additional fuel, elevating Harvick to second. From there, Harvick drove up onto the back bumper of defending Michigan winner Logano and ultimately made the decisive pass for the lead on lap 183 of 200.
Once Logano pitted for enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag, Harvick was unchallenged down the stretch, crossing the finish line in front of runner-up Denny Hamlin by 1.054 seconds.
“We just had a really fast car all weekend,” said Harvick, who rallied back from a flat tire under green in the opening stage. “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. I’m really proud of everybody on our Mobil 1 Ford team, and everybody back at the shop from Haas Automation and Stewart‑Haas Racing.
“We put a really fast car on the race track and were able to capitalize on it, and that’s always fun.”
Hamlin was philosophical afterward, admitting that “the fastest car won the race, speed-wise.”
“We didn’t have the best handling car when it was really hot and slick, but as the day went on and the track cooled off, the guys that had built more speed into their car … the conditions kind of handicapped it for them, so we were able to hang on to those Fords there at the end,” Hamlin noted. “The 4 (Harvick) was trying to save fuel there, I’m guessing, and then the 2 and the 22 peeled off. We were right there, though. We just didn’t have enough speed.
“It’s a balance. I feel like we had a great FedEx Camry today, but just came up one spot short again.”
Kyle Larson finished third for Chip Ganassi Racing, a much-needed shot in the arm after his Knoxville Nationals bid fell apart early in the week, with Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez following.
Kyle Busch, Ryan Preece, William Byron, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman completed the top 10.
Logano ended up 17th after having to duck to pit road with three to go, ruining his shot at victory.
“I needed more gas. The Shell car isn’t supposed to run out of gas,” quipped Logano. “The positive is that we were way better today than we were on Friday and Saturday. The negative is that we almost won the race, but ended up finishing 17th. You win some and you lose some, though. If the caution had come out, we would have been in good shape … but it stayed green, and that’s it. That’s the gamble.
“We took the gamble and it didn’t pay off,” he added. “At Pocono, we played it the other way and the caution came out. That’s two races now, and we just played it wrong both times.”
Keselowski and Blaney befell similar fuel-related fates, finishing 19th and 24th, respectively.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.