Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. His most recent previous win was in September 2020. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kevin Harvick got his groove back, fittingly at one of his favorite tracks.

Harvick ended a 65-race winless drought that lasted nearly two years with his sixth NASCAR Cup Series victory at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.

“Good timing, for sure,” he said.

Harvick’s latest win shakes up the playoff race with just three races remaining in the regular season and gives a boost to a veteran who entered the weekend No. 17 in points.

“Everybody that doubted us doesn’t know us,” he said.

There have been 15 different winners this season, closing in on the playoff-era record of 16, set last year. There’s a chance that a driver with a victory could be eliminated from the 16-car playoff field based on a points tiebreaker. Also, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. are in the top 10 in points but do not have a victory, putting them in danger of missing the playoffs.


Harvick’s No. 4 Ford pulled away from Bubba Wallace and the rest the field following a restart with 35 laps to go. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver took advantage of clean air, helping him coast to his 59th victory, including five wins since 2018 on the 2-mile oval in the Irish Hills region of southern Michigan.

Harvick had not won since claiming a NASCAR Cup Series postseason race on Sept. 19, 2020, at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“It’s been a while,” he acknowledged. “Michigan has been a great place for us.”

Wallace finished second in his No. 23 Toyota – 2.9 seconds behind Harvick – followed by Denny Hamlin in his No. 11 Toyota.

“Seconds not good enough for the playoffs,” said Wallace, who needs to win one of the final three regular-season races.

Austin Cindric, who won the Daytona 500 for his first career victory, started the day No. 15 in points and finished last in the 37-car race after his No. 2 Ford hit the wall head-on in a nine-car crash.


“It was a complete mess,” he said.


Wallace won his first career pole Saturday, becoming the only driver to break 190 mph in the Next Gen car during qualifying this season, and went even faster early in the race after a 90-minute rain delay.

Wallace, driving for the 23XI Racing team formed by Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin in 2020, stayed out front until he made a pit stop after 21 laps, and the decision cost him track position because of a crash soon thereafter that included one-fourth of the field.

Wallace blamed himself for letting Harvick pull away after the last pivotal restart.

“I’ll wear this one on my heart for a while,” he said, choking back tears. “I failed everybody.”



Kyle Busch had another frustrating day, getting knocked out of the race on Lap 25 in a multi-car crash following a restart that also knocked out Cindric.

“I can’t buy a break right now,” said Busch.

Busch has failed to finish in the top 10 in eight straight races, the longest streak of the two-time Cup champion’s career, and he does not have a contract for next year. Three days before racing at Michigan, he and his wife and their two young children escaped the Mall of America in Minnesota after shots were fired.


Austin Hill made his Cup debut for Richard Childress Racing and finished 18th. … Kurt Busch missed his third straight race because of concussion-like symptoms. Ty Gibbs, the 19-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, filled in and was a career-high 10th in the No. 45 Toyota for 23XI Racing. … Cole Custer’s No. 41 Ford had its front left tire engulfed in flames, ending his day midway through the race. A week earlier, Chris Buescher’s No. 17 Ford caught fire. … Buescher’s paint job featured the LeBron James Family Foundation. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar is a minority owner with Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of Roush Fenway Keselowski.

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