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Playoff picture comes into focus as Harvick wins in Michigan
Elliott at Richmond
Chase Elliott finished 10th on Sept. 9 at the Richmond Raceway to earn a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. - photo by For the Dawson County News

Kevin Harvick, in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, grabbed the lead on lap 183 of 200 and sped away from the field to claim the checkered flag in the Consumers Energy 400 Aug. 10 by a comfortable 1.595-second margin.

After a blown tire on lap 31, Harvick was able to use all three lanes of the track and a car built for speed to pick up his second win on the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Series Cup and his third career win at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway.

“It was a day of a little bit of adversity that we were able to overcome,” Harvick said. “But we just had a really fast car all weekend. Our car handled really well today, and with the multiple lanes, we were able to run all three lanes pretty well and make our way through traffic.”

While not as dominating as he was last week at Watkins Glen, Chase Elliot notched is seventh top-ten finish out of eight starts at Michigan as he fought hard to break into the top-five, but fuel become an issue late in the race and Elliott, running on fumes in his No. 9 NAPA Chevy crossed the finish line in ninth-place.

“We finally got our car going pretty good there at the end and then ran out of gas on that last lap,” Elliott said. “I just needed to save a little better after the caution… I needed to do a better job of saving.”

With only three races left to go in the regular season, the battles taking place on the position charts were almost as equally as interesting as the battles on the track with several drives gaining ground in the standings while 7-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson took a big step backwards from the post season.

After colliding with the wall, causing a blown tire and what appeared to be moderate damage along the right side of the No. 48 Ally Chevy, Johnson returned from pit row two laps down. A second set of repairs 11 laps later put him seven laps down overall and his day ended with a thirty-fourth-place finish overall and dropping him to 18 in the points standings.

“When you’re aggressive, it doesn’t work and then sometimes you’re cautious and it doesn’t work,” Johnson said. “It was a great car. That hurt, for sure. We’re just going to have to rally on and these guys are doing an amazing job.”

Two drivers, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman reaped the biggest reward from Johnson’s trouble as Newman’s twelfth place finish pushed him 16 points above the bubble into 15th in the standings, 10 points ahead of Clint Bowyer, while Saurez’ fifth-place finish moved him six slots on the chart, from 23 to 17.

“It was a decent day for us. We had ups and downs,” Suarez said. “The team was able to overcome that with good adjustments and they put me back in the game with track position and we were able to get a good result from there.”

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will race under the lights in Bristol, TN in the Bristol Nigh Race with the green flag scheduled to wave at 7:30 p.m.