BROOKLYN, MI – There’s a lengthy list of drivers who ran out of fuel or had to pit in the final few laps to avoid running out of gas.
Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney were all running in the top five before running short on fuel. Kurt Busch and others ran dry on the last lap.
But Kevin Harvick had more than enough in the tank to win Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
“When the race was over, we drove around down pit lane, we did some burnouts, drove back to the garage and it was still running,” Harvick said. “So I think we were good.”
A Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spin on Lap 150 caused the final caution of the day. Most drivers could go about 45 laps on a tank of fuel, but they’d need to stretch that to get to the finish, creating the dilemma.
Harvick restarted seventh, but worked his way forward and passed Logano for the lead with 18 laps to go. He cruised to victory, with Denny Hamlin finishing in second place, 1.05 seconds back.
When Harvick won last August at MIS, he drove his son Keelan for a ride around the track to celebrate. This year, 7-year-old Keelan’s joyride was one better. Harvick threw his helmet on Keelan and threw him inside the race car for the celebratory burnout and doughnuts and let Keelan retrieve the checkered flag.
Putting his son in the car was more exciting than winning the race itself, Harvick said.
“For me as a dad, it’s probably the coolest thing you could ever do,” Harvick said. “He may never get to do a doughnut in his life or hear 40,000, 50,000 people screaming and yelling and that enthusiasm of the excitement from the crowd. Those are neat experiences that most kids don’t get to experience. But most kids’ dads don’t race cars.”
Keelan has been practicing waving a checkered flag, Harvick said, as evidenced by holes in their ceiling and scratches on the walls.
There’s one thing greater than being a parent. It’s being a child who’s parent recognizes them during a moment of triump in their professional lives. I really enjoyed watching these two celebrate together. https://t.co/Q278e2psAO
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) August 11, 2019
Keelan sat with his dad during post-race media interviews, even taking a few questions. He was a bit bummed his dad wouldn’t let him spray him with Gatorade.
“You’re already sticky,” Keelan said.
Dad wasn’t biting.
“Yeah, but that’s not happening,” Harvick responded. “You’re not going to spray any Gatorade. It’ll be in my ears, up my nose.”
A victory lane celebration didn’t look likely for Harvick on Lap 32, when he had to pit from second place for a flat tire. But he didn’t lose a lap and stayed in contention.
Keselowski, from Rochester Hills, led the most laps (66) but finished 19th.
Teammates crash in separate incidents
While Harvick leaves MIS with a trophy, two of his three teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing are leaving with wrecked race cars.
On the last lap of Stage 2, Aric Almirola drifted up the track, collided with Daniel Hemric and Austin Dillon and nosed his car into the wall. Dillon went spinning into the infield, but Almirola suffered the brunt of the damage.
On Lap 138, Clint Bowyer made contact with Paul Menard, sending Bowyer’s car up the track, into the wall and out of the race. Bowyer is only six points above the playoff cutoff line with three races to go in the regular season.
Top 10 finishers
1. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Ford
2. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota
3. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet
4. Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Toyota
5. Daniel Suarez, No. 41 Ford
6. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota
7. Ryan Preece, No. 47 Chevrolet
8. William Byron, No. 24 Chevrolet
9. Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet
10. Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet