Event: FireKeepers Casino 400 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th / 2nd (Running, completed 133 of 133 laps in a rain-shortened race)
Point Standing: 2nd (589 points, 75 out of first)
Race Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Kevin Harvick started fourth, finished fourth and earned seven bonus points.
● The No. 4 Jimmy John’s team raced to second immediately following the green flag.
● Harvick was called to pit road during the competition caution on lap 26 for a two-tire stop and restarted second.
● The No. 4 Ford was in the sixth position on lap 56 when a caution flag flew, but NASCAR opted to keep the pits closed.
● Harvick restarted sixth on lap 58 and raced up to fourth in the two-lap dash to end the stage.
● The team came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage for four tires, fuel and wedge and air pressure adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Started fourth and finished first to earn 10 bonus points and a playoff point.
● After opting to stay out during the lap-66 caution, Harvick restarted second on lap 72 and immediately drove to the lead.
● Harvick came to pit road under caution on lap 87 for two tires and fuel, and he won the race off pit road.
● The No. 21 car stayed out to restart first on lap 90, but Harvick immediately raced to the lead.
● Harvick’s No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford held the lead for the remainder of the stage.
● The team came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage for four tires, fuel and wedge and air pressure adjustments and came off pit road in the second position behind Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Clint Bowyer, who opted for two tires.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-133):
● Started second and finished second.
● Harvick battled Bowyer for the lead before a wreck brought out the final caution on lap 130.
● With Harvick still running second behind Bowyer, rain began to fall, forcing NASCAR to end the event on lap 133.
● This was Harvick’s series-best 11th top-five and 12th top-10 finish of 2018.
● Harvick earned his 11th top-five and 16th top-10 in 35 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan.
● Harvick finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and won Stage 2 to earn 10 bonus points and a playoff point.
● Harvick led three times for a race-high 49 laps to increase his laps-led total at Michigan to 372.
● Harvick’s runner-up result, Bowyer’s win and Kurt Busch’s third-place finish secured the first 1-2-3 finish in SHR history.
● The FireKeepers Casino 400 was completed under caution, with rain ending the race after 133 of its scheduled 200 laps.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 30 laps.
● Twenty-nine of the 39 drivers in the FireKeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a weird day. If you are going to have rain kind of take one from you, I would rather give it to my teammate. I am happy for Clint and all the guys on the 14 team. Everyone on our car did a great job. I had a really fast car, and the pit crew was the best thing that happened all day. They were solid all day and kept us up front. That to me is the best thing that came out of today.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!