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Kevin Harvick holds off Bubba Wallace to snap winless streak


By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports activities NASCAR Author

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kevin Harvick went 65 races and not using a win previous to Sunday at Michigan Worldwide Speedway.

So when he took the lead on pit street with 38 laps remaining after which outpaced the sphere, he was elated simply to have a trophy, not to mention earn a berth to the NASCAR Cup Collection playoffs.

“It felt like much more than that,” Harvick mentioned about his winless streak together with his earlier win coming in September 2020 at Bristol.

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Listed here are three takeaways from Michigan.

NASCAR Cup Collection at Michigan

NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan

Full highlights from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Collection race at Michigan.

Harvick upends playoff image

Harvick entered the race tenth within the level standings however 96 factors out of the playoff cutoff with 4 races remaining within the common season.

His victory vaulted him into the playoffs, the place the regular-season champion after which the 15 drivers based mostly on wins (with ties damaged by factors) comprise the 16-driver area.

“I am extra nervous in regards to the trophy,” he mentioned. “Being in place to win a race is one thing that it’s a must to do to even take into consideration having an opportunity at racing for a championship.

“Doing that and figuring out how we have run the final month has been thrilling.”

Truex, Blaney now on the bubble

Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney swapped spots a few occasions late within the race with Blaney ending fifth and Truex in sixth. However with stage factors earned earlier within the race, Truex earned six extra factors than Blaney to chop the hole between them to 19 factors.

Ryan Blaney displays on season together with factors, wins and the playoffs

Ryan Blaney reflects on season including points, wins and the playoffs

Following Michigan, Ryan Blaney displays on his season together with factors, wins and the playoffs.

With 15 winners this 12 months, there could be at most one spot accessible within the playoffs for a winless driver based mostly on factors. Blaney is clinging to that spot.

“We’re racing the 19 [of Truex] for factors and attempt to win,” Blaney mentioned. “We’ll attempt to do each.”

As Harvick did his burnout, Truex knew his scenario after going from 96 factors to the great to now being outdoors the bubble wanting in.

“We did not know earlier than,” Truex mentioned. “Now we all know. We have got to win. Easy as that.”

Martin Truex Jr. on whether or not he’ll make the NASCAR playoffs

Martin Truex Jr. on whether he will make the NASCAR playoffs

“We’ve bought to win. Easy as that.”- Martin Truex Jr. on whether or not or not he’ll make the NASCAR playoffs.

Wallace what-if

Bubba Wallace and Harvick began side-by-side on the entrance row on the restart with 35 laps remaining, and Wallace bought shuffled again to 3rd.

Wallace had top-of-the-line vehicles, sat on the pole and led 22 laps. However he got here up empty and questioned if selecting to start out on the entrance row beside Harvick as an alternative of behind him (and doubtlessly pushing him to the place possibly they may separate themselves from the sphere) made the distinction.

“You are going up with top-of-the-line and Harvick, proper? What do you do? Push him? Race him?” Wallace mentioned. “And you’ve got that chip in your shoulder. It is like, ‘Man, we have been quick all weekend. I can outrace him.’

“If we had been in a position to get away and I used to be in a position to stick with him, we may have beat him. It could have been a problem.”

Bubba Wallace speaks on his second-place end at Michigan

Bubba Wallace speaks on his second-place finish at Michigan

Bubba Wallace may solely marvel what may have been and what he may have accomplished in another way after his second-place end at Michigan.

Wallace took a number of minutes to compose himself after the race.

“[It’s] a humbling second,” mentioned Wallace, whose sole Cup victory got here at Talladega final 12 months. “You have to lose one earlier than you win one and simply happy with the momentum that we’re on. … I will carry this one with me for some time. I failed the crew.”

Bob Pockrass has spent many years masking motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports activities in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting Information, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Seaside) Information-Journal. Comply with him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. On the lookout for extra NASCAR content material? Join the FOX Sports activities NASCAR E-newsletter with Bob Pockrass!

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