Kevin Harvick holds off Bubba Wallace for winning streak

Through Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kevin Harvick 65 races without a win went on until Sunday Michigan International Speedway.

So when he took the lead on pit lane with 38 laps to go and then overtook the field, he was elated to even have a trophy, let alone secure a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

“It felt like a lot more,” said Harvick of his winning streak with his previous win in Bristol in September 2020.

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Here are three food stalls from Michigan.

NASCAR Cup Series in Michigan

NASCAR Cup Series in Michigan

All the highlights from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Michigan.

Harvick turns the playoff picture on its head

Harvick started 10th in the points standings but was 96 points short of the playoff cutoff with four regular season races remaining.

His win propelled him into the playoffs, where the regular-season champion and then the 15 riders based on wins (with ties broken by points) make up the 16-rider field.

“I’m more worried about the trophy,” he said. “Being in a position to win a race is something you have to do to even think about driving a championship.

“Doing that and knowing how we’ve been going for the past month has been exciting.”

Truex, Blaney on the now bladder

Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney swapped places a couple of times late in the race, with Blaney finishing fifth and Truex sixth. But with stage points collected earlier in the race, Truex picked up six points more than Blaney to narrow the gap between them to 19 points.

Ryan Blaney looks back on the season including points, wins and the playoffs

Ryan Blaney looks back on the season including points, wins and the playoffs

After Michigan, Ryan Blaney looks back on his season of points, wins and the playoffs.

With 15 winners this year, a winless driver would have at most one playoff spot available based on points. Blaney clings to that spot.

“We’re leaving on the 19th [of Truex] to get points and win,” Blaney said. “We’re going to try to do both.”

When Harvick performed his burnout, Truex knew his situation, having gone from 96 points to good and now outside the bubble and looking in.

“We didn’t know before,” Truex said. “Now we know. We have to win.

Martin Truex Jr. on making the NASCAR playoffs

Martin Truex Jr. on making the NASCAR playoffs

“We have to win. It’s that simple.” – Martin Truex Jr. on whether or not he’ll make the NASCAR playoffs.

Wallace what if

Bubba Wallace and Harvick started side-by-side on the front row at the restart with 35 laps remaining, and Wallace was pushed back to third place.

Wallace had one of the best cars, sitting on pole and leading 22 laps. But he came up empty-handed, wondering if the decision to start on the front row alongside Harvick, rather than behind him (and possibly pushing him where they might be able to break away from the field) made the difference.

“You’re going up with one of the best and Harvick, right? What do you do? are you pushing him said Wallace. “And you’ve got that chip on your shoulder. It’s like, ‘Man, we’ve been fast all weekend. I can pass him.’

“If we could escape and I could stay with him, we could have beaten him. It would have been a challenge.”

Bubba Wallace talks about his second place finish in Michigan

Bubba Wallace talks about his second place finish in Michigan

Bubba Wallace could only wonder what could have been and what he could have done differently after his second place finish in Michigan.

Wallace needed a few minutes to collect himself after the race.

“[It’s] a humbling moment,” said Wallace, whose only cup win came at Talladega last year. … I’ll carry this with me for a while. I let the team down.”

Bob Pockrass has spent decades covering motorsport, including the past 30 Daytona 500. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after working at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene Magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal . Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpock breed. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR newsletter with Bob Pockrass!


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