Kevin Harvick won for the seventh time this season Sunday at Michigan International Speedway and like most of his wins, it came in dominating fashion.
The Stewart-Haas Racing hotshoe won all three stages of the race and led 108 laps, cruising to victory by over three seconds.
“Keelan is saving me some work,” Harvick said of his son, who went from the apron to the flag stand to get the checkered flag. “Usually when I get home the next day we have to mock up a victory lane celebration. For him to be here and able to do that and be a part of NASCAR and bring your son to work and do all the things that we get to do with our kids, I have had him with me by myself the last three weeks and we have had a ball. I couldn’t be happier to be a dad and be a part of NASCAR where they let your family come to the racetrack and be a part of it.”
Harvick was especially dominant in the second half of the Consumers Energy 400. Taking the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on Lap 110, he led the next 61 laps through the second stage and into the third stage before green flag pit stops began. Making his final pit stop with 29 laps to go, Harvick would cycle back to the top spot on Lap 190 of 200.
He went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is Harvick’s second at Michigan and the 44th of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
Completing the top 10 were Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano.
Hamlin led lap one after starting the race from the outside lane, putting Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch on the inside. Behind them, Ryan Newman went from sixth to third position powering on the outside lane.
The first caution flew for Erik Jones after the Michigan native spun off Turn 4 and into the frontstretch grass on Lap 9. Jones struggled with running over the seam in the corners, which got him loose.
Hamlin lost the top spot on the restart to Busch, who was then briefly challenged by Harvick until the second caution flew on Lap 16. Rookie William Byron got loose underneath Martin Truex in Turn 1 and slid up into the No. 78 which sent both drivers spinning. Truex was able to keep his car from any harm while Byron made significant contact with the outside wall with the left rear.
On the restart following the lap 25 competition caution, Harvick took the lead from Busch for the first time. Harvick picked up the stage win, his 11th, while Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott had to make unscheduled pit stops and fell off the lead lap. Larson complained of a vibration and Elliott a potential loose wheel.
Jimmie Johnson started stage two as the leader after the No. 48 team went with two tires on their pit stop during the stage break. Johnson would hold the lead for just one green flag lap as Kyle Busch charged back by on Lap 68.
Caution for the fourth time on Lap 74 saw Johnson, Truex, Suarez and Jones stay on track while others pitted for fuel. The caution was because of a half spin by Ryan Newman, who had a tire go down after hitting the wall on the frontstretch.
Short of making it on fuel, Johnson was called to pit road when the caution again flew on Lap 84 because of a Turn 1 spin by Jones, who had been bounced into on the left-front by Ryan Blaney.
Truex inherited the lead for the restart. The reigning series champion held onto the top spot until Lap 110 when he went into fuel-saving mode to make it to the end of the stage. Harvick took the lead and won his 12th stage of the season.
Truex did not make it to the stage break, running out of fuel with two laps to go. And although he made it to pit road, Truex pitted when the pits had closed and then had an additional penalty for an uncontrolled tire.
With his team holding serve on pit road, Harvick began the final stage as the leader on Lap 127.
Ty Dillon brought out the final caution on Lap 133 for a vicious hit in Turn 3. Dillon ran over something going down the backstretch destroying the No. 13 Chevrolet to where smoke came out from under the car as he headed straight for the wall.
Harvick would continue to lead until his final pit stop and then eventually cycled back to the top spot.
The Consumers Energy 400 had 15 lead changes among nine drivers and eight cautions.