Kevin Harvick goes back-to-back at Michigan

Nick Bromberg
·5 min read
Kevin Harvick races during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Kevin Harvick went back-to-back at Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Kevin Harvick won again at Michigan. And guess what? Denny Hamlin finished second.

Harvick got his sixth win of the season and second in two days at Michigan as he held off Hamlin over the final 10 laps of Sunday’s 312-mile race.

Hamlin, who Harvick tied at five wins on Saturday, sure looked like he had a car that could pass Harvick. But while he got close to Harvick’s back bumper on multiple occasions he couldn’t attempt a pass.

Harvick is the first driver to win Cup Series races on consecutive days since Richard Petty in 1971. Petty’s accomplishment came before NASCAR’s modern era unofficially began in 1972.

“I think when you look at my team we’ve been together for going on seven years now and you look at the confidence everybody has in each other,” Harvick said. “The details of the race cars and the thought of everything that goes into everything that we do is untouchable. That’s what it takes are details to make these race cars go fast.”

Harvick and Hamlin are — by far — the two biggest title contenders in 2020. They’ve found themselves at the front of the field near the end of races on a seemingly weekly basis and have raced each other for wins on multiple occasions.

Harvick beat Hamlin at Pocono in the first race of two at the track in the final weekend of June. Hamlin then beat Harvick the next day. A week later, Hamlin was leading Harvick with six laps to go at Indianapolis before he blew a tire. Harvick ended up winning the race.

Keselowski crashes with Blaney while racing for the lead

If there’s a clear No. 3 in the Cup Series it’s Brad Keselowski. He has three wins in 2020 and was racing for a fourth with Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney in the final stage on Sunday.

And that didn’t go well. Keselowski lost grip on the inside of Blaney and ended up taking both cars out of the race.

“I just lost it,” Keselowski said. “It’s my fault. I feel really bad for my teammate, Ryan Blaney. He didn’t deserve that. I just came off of turn four and [Harvick] was behind me and he gave me a push and I swear I went into the corner like 20 miles an hour faster than I had been all day and got past [Hamlin] and I went to get underneath [Blaney] and I just slipped.”

Blaney has been involved in a fair amount of crashes while racing for the lead over the last few years.

“We had two fast cars battling for the lead and it just stinks that happened,” Blaney said. “He had a run, like he said, and he didn’t think he had as big of a run as he had and just got loose and, unfortunately, got us both.”

How good Harvick has been at SHR

The win was Harvick’s 55th of his career and his 32nd as a member of Stewart-Haas Racing.

Harvick was always one of the better drivers in the Cup Series at Richard Childress Racing but has firmly established himself as one of the best since joining Stewart-Haas in 2014.

Those 32 wins at SHR have come in 238 races with the team and work out to a win every 7.5 races. And while he has just one title — in his first year with the team in 2014 — he’s finished in the top three in the points standings in five of the previous six seasons.

He’s first in the standings right now and will likely begin the playoffs as the top seed. Harvick is an insane 137 points ahead of Keselowski for the points lead. A race win and two stage wins is 60 points, meaning Harvick could sit out two races and Keselowski — or any other driver in the field — could win two races and the each of the first two stages in those races and still not catch Harvick for the points lead.

Harvick has an astonishing 15 top-five finishes and 19 top 10s through the first 22 races of the season. His 15 top fives are more than he had in 2014 when he won the title and more than the number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch (2015), Jimmie Johnson (2016) and Joey Logano (2018) had when they won titles in the years after Harvick.

Full results

1. Kevin Harvick

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Martin Truex Jr.

4. Kyle Busch

5. Joey Logano

6. Aric Almirola

7. Matt DiBenedetto

8. Austin Dillon

9. Chase Elliott

10. Kurt Busch

11. Jimmie Johnson

12. William Byron

13. Ryan Newman

14. Clint Bowyer

15. Matt Kenseth

16. Ryan Preece

17. Christopher Bell

18. Ty Dillon

19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

20. Chris Buescher

21. Bubba Wallace

22. Corey LaJoie

23. John Hunter Nemechek

24. Tyler Reddick

25. Cole Custer

26. Daniel Suarez

27. Erik Jones

28. Michael McDowell

29. JJ Yeley

30. Brennan Poole

31. Reed Sorenson

32. Quin Houff

33. Josh Bilicki

34. Garrett Smithley

35. Timmy Hill

36. Alex Bowman

37. James Davison

38. Ryan Blaney

39. Brad Keselowski

Points standings

1. Kevin Harvick, 916 points

2. Brad Keselowski, 779

3. Denny Hamlin, 776

4. Ryan Blaney, 741

5. Chase Elliott, 721

6. Joey Logano, 717

7. Martin Truex Jr., 716

8. Aric Almirola, 669

9. Kyle Busch, 651

10. Kurt Busch, 648

11. Alex Bowman, 585

12. Clint Bowyer, 571

13. Matt DiBenedetto, 568

14. William Byron, 537

15. Jimmie Johnson, 511

15. Erik Jones, 511

17. Austin Dillon, 501

17. Tyler Reddick, 501

19. Christopher Bell, 415

20. Bubba Wallace, 400

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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