BROOKLYN, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Stewart Haas Racing’s (SHR) Kevin Harvick picked up his second victory of the season passing Joey Logano with 17-laps to go to win Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).
“We just had a really fast car all weekend,” said Harvick. “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. So just really proud of everybody on our Mobil 1 Ford, everybody from Busch and Hunt Brothers and Jimmy John’s and everybody back at the shop from Haas Automation and Stewart-Haas Racing, just put a really fast car on the racetrack and we were able to capitalize on it, and that’s always fun.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson finished third in the No. 42 McDonalds Camaro, right behind Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, who finished second.
“Our McDonald’s Chevy handled really well today when we had four tires on it,” said Larson. “When we would do two rights, I’d be way too tight, and then we’d put two lefts on and I was way too loose, but then that finally balanced out and I was back to being good and running really fast laps at the end.”
Larson was running in the top 10 with a couple of laps remaining when a number of cars either had to go to pit road for fuel, with some running out of gas on the last lap, so Larson finished better than even he thought.
“The last thing I knew I was running like ninth and I passed a couple guys, but so yeah, I guess more people ran out of fuel than I thought,” said Larson. “I don’t really know what happened there. But yeah, it worked out.”
Larson’s third place finish solidified his spot to qualify for NASCAR’s playoffs with three races remaining in the regular season. Larson now sits in 13-place in the playoff standings, 71-points above the cut-off.
“That was a great point saver, well above the cut line now, so happy about that,” said Larson.
Good finish and awesome points day for us today! Happy to head to my favorite track with some momentum. Cars have been fast lately 👍🏼👍🏼
— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) August 12, 2019
Larson’s teammate Kurt Busch ran in the top 10 all day and was running 7th on lap 198 of the 200-lap event, but was one of many drivers trying to save fuel to make it to the end of the race, so he slid back to 8th as he took the white flag and ran out on the back straightaway and fell to 23rd.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) August 12, 2019
Busch now sits in 8th place in the playoff standings with 1-win and 6-playoff points. Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott s in 7th place with 2-wins and 14-playoff points. Elliott’s teammate Alex Bowman is behind Busch in 9th place with 1-win and 5-playoff points.
Clint Bowyer is in the 16th and final playoff spot, 6-points above the cut line. Bowyer’s SHR teammate Daniel Suarez is in the 17th position. The top 16 in points qualify for NASCAR’s playoff.
The next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race is Saturday night August 17, 2019 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Denny Hamlin And Kevin Harvick Score NASCAR Cup Wins At Pocono Doubleheader
LONG POND, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s Pocono 350, the second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Doubleheader Weekend at Pocono Raceway.
Hamlin beat Kevin Harvick by 3.068-seconds to pick up his fourth victory of 2020 and 41st of his Cup Series career. Hamlin is now tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for the most wins all-time at “The Tricky Triangle” with six.
“It’s awesome,” said Hamlin. “I think that’s the most wins I’ve got at any track now. It’s hard to believe because we went through such a dry spell there kind of the middle of my career. We’re doing a great job right now. Like I say, I hate to feel disappointed in a second and first. Man, I really feel like we should have won both races. Just didn’t work out.”
Harvick won Saturday’s race, taking two tires on the final pit stop to grab the checkered flag from a track where he had never won.
“Everybody from Stewart-Haas Racing has done a great job,” said Harvick. “We’ve had really fast cars every time we’ve come to Pocono, just hadn’t got to Victory Lane.”
The NASCAR Cup Series next event is the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a doubleheader with the NTT IndyCar Series.
Ryan Blaney Edges Ricky Stenhouse To Win NASCAR Cup Race At Talladega
TALLADEGA, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney picked up his first win of the season beating Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by a bumper at the rain-delayed Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Blaney and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones made contact on the front stretch, sending Jones into the outside wall as Blaney headed towards the checkered flag.
Inside of Blaney however was JTG Daugherty’s Stenhouse, who was leading hard charge of cars on the inside lane. The pair crossed the Start/Finish line with Blaney prevailing by 0.007-seconds in a photo-finish.
“I just kind of blocked, just trying to block the best we could,” said Blaney. “The 20 got to my outside and I tried to go up there to slow him down, I hate that I hit him, but just kind of trying to beat and bang to the line and things like that. We just edged it out, but I am really proud of this whole Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang team.”
Stenhouse finished second and said he did all he could to get to the front.
“The 20 had a good run,” said Stenhouse. “Then they started banging fenders, slowing each other down. I just kept on the throttle, was able to get close to the nose of the 12 there coming across the line. All in all it was a solid day for us.”
Stewart Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola finished third with his rear bumper crossing the Start/Finish line first as he was caught up in the Jones accident.
Denny Hamlin finished fourth followed by Jones who after hitting the wall crossed the line in fifth.
Prior to the race drivers and crew members surrounded Bubba Wallace’s No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet and pushed it to the front of the starting grid in a show of support after a noose was found in the RPM garage area on Sunday.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the FBI is investigating and that whoever is responsible for the action will be suspended for life from NASCAR.
Chip Ganassi Condemns Noose Incident At Talladega
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Pittsburgh’s Chip Ganassi is condemning Sunday’s noose incident at Talladega Superspeedway.
Ganassi, who fields the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Camaro driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 Credit One Bank/McDonald’s Chevrolet driven by Matt Kenseth in the NASCAR Cup Series, called the incident “horrific and completely reprehensible” and said now is the time to “rid NASCAR, and all sports, of these ignorant attitudes”.
Ganassi took to his Twitter feed to share those feelings. Here’s the tweet:
“What happened yesterday in the garage in Talladega is horrific and completely reprehensible. Now more than ever is the time for everyone in the sport to rid NASCAR, and all sports, of these ignorant attitudes”
— Chip Ganassi (@GanassiChip) June 22, 2020
Ganassi had to do exactly what he tweeted about when he fired former driver Kyle Larson, who uttered a racial slur in an online racing event.
Ganassi’s team also showed their support for driver Bubba Wallace and his Richard Petty Motorsports team. The noose was found in the RPM teams garage.
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) June 22, 2020
Ganassi has been a long-time believer of diversity and gender equality in his race teams, which in addition to the NASCAR Cup Series, includes 3-cars in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and an upcoming entry in Extreme E in 2021.