Kevin Harvick’s 65-race win-free streak has ended. The Closer performed at Michigan International Speedway on August 7 and won its first race since Bristol Motor Speedway in September 2020.
Harvick entered the Cup Series race below the qualifying streak and in a must-win position. He needed to get past both Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr., which seemed like a long shot. However, the No. 4 rated Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver took the lead from Bubba Wallace in the last restart, and took a more than four second lead over his fellow competitors while driving the last 38 laps.
The feelings were palpable as Harvick took some time to enjoy the moment. He drove the opposite direction down the track while waving to all the fans who remained on the track through the rain and lightning delay. Then he made a tremendous fatigue in front of the flag bearer.
“Good timing for sure. “We’ve had some good running the last few weeks in Loudoun and Pocono,” Harvick said after getting out of the #4 Ford Mustang. Then he talked about how the team was consistent while fighting through some adversities and how the number 4 wasn’t great in traffic. “Once I got a clear path, this kid was fishing,” Harvick added before turning to Victory Lane.
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The location of victory was convenient
There have been discussions throughout the past two seasons about how Harvick would inevitably win. He had a lot of experience and a team of championship caliber surrounded him. Although no one knows where he will break the winning streak.
The race at Michigan International Speedway was a good place for Harvick to capture that streak. He entered the weekend with five wins in 41 games, including three in a row in 2019-2020 and two at Busch Light Apple Ford.
Harvick returned his red Busch Light Ford to Victory Lane, and took one of the most important victories of his career. He was out of the cut-off picture with four races remaining in the regular season, but now he has his place on the field after becoming the 15th winner in 2022.
The separator picture continues to turn heads
With Harvick winning his first race in nearly two years, there is only one place left in the field for 16 drivers. Ryan Blaney holds this spot by points judgment, but is only 19 points above the cut-off line despite having the second most points in the entire series.
Martin Truex Jr., fourth in points, is the first driver below the cut-off line. He entered the race into the weekend in the last transfer position and a 96-point lead over Harvick. He is now the first driver to exit the play-off with three more chances to take the win.
There is still a possibility that more than 16 drivers will win in the regular season. If Truex is in that group, he’ll go up the leaderboard and knock out Kurt Busch, the single-win driver with the fewest points. If not, the 2017 Cup Series champion will miss the opportunity to pursue more playoff successes.
This interval image will generate more conversations based on the remaining races on the schedule. The drivers will head to Richmond Raceway next, a track where Toyota has finished first in nine of the past 13 races.
After Richmond, drivers will finish the regular season with a lap on the road at Watkins Glen International and a super-highway at Daytona International Speedway. Both paths can potentially lead to chaos, and there is always the possibility of a new winner.
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