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Kevin Harvick holds off Denny Hamlin for Michigan doubleheader sweep

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kevin Harvick received nearly every little thing he may in a stellar weekend at Michigan International Speedway, though fittingly, Denny Hamlin was the final driver to strain him.

Harvick held off Hamlin on Sunday to finish a doubleheader sweep within the NASCAR Cup Series. He’d additionally received Saturday’s race, and the 2 victories gave him six on the season — essentially the most of any driver.

Hamlin, who has 5 victories, almost chased Harvick down on the very finish, and this weekend did nothing to dispel the notion that these two are prime contenders for this yr’s championship.

“I have tremendous respect for everyone on that team and Kevin,” Hamlin stated. “As we’ve gotten older, we’ve gotten wiser and learned to really appreciate what each other does on the race track. Obviously, they’re having a great season as well.”

Hamlin was proper behind Harvick for the ultimate few laps and got here near passing him a few instances, however Harvick stayed in entrance. Hamlin’s remaining determined bid got here up brief on the finish when Harvick crossed the end line 0.093 seconds forward.

Harvick additionally received the primary two phases Saturday and the second stage Sunday. Clint Bowyer received Sunday’s first stage of the 156-lap, 312-mile race.

With NASCAR working an adjusted schedule due to the coronavirus, each Michigan races have been held on the identical weekend. That meant Harvick grew to become the primary driver since Richard Petty in 1971 to win back-to-back Cup races on consecutive days. Petty did it July 14 and 15 at Islip and Saratoga.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve raced back-to-back days, let alone in the Cup car,” Harvick stated. “I’ve never accomplished that obviously, but we’ve done that a couple times this year, so I think for us it’s worked out pretty well. We’re hoping it goes the same way at Dover when we go there in a couple of weeks.”

The two Michigan races have been fairly related, with no main incidents by the primary two phases. Saturday’s end was extra chaotic with plenty of late cautions. On Sunday, there have been solely three cautions, not together with the yellow durations on the finish of the primary two phases.

But a kind of cautions Sunday got here after a wreck that knocked out two of Team Penske’s stars.

Brad Keselowski’s Ford made contact with Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 automobile shortly after the beginning of the ultimate stage, sending the teammates slamming into the wall.

“It’s my fault. I feel really bad for my teammate, Ryan Blaney,” Keselowski stated. “He didn’t deserve that. … I went to get underneath the 12 and I just slipped. I lost the back a little bit and when I went to collect it he was there and I wiped him out and myself out, so I feel terrible for everyone at Team Penske and especially Ryan Blaney.”

That wasn’t sufficient to break the day for Ford, which has now received six straight Cup races at Michigan. Harvick has taken 4 of the previous 5.

“When you start getting texts from Edsel Ford on how important the weekend is, you answer those,” Harvick stated. “I’ve been around Ford for several years now and you understand the importance of winning at Michigan. The energy and effort that they not only put into our cars, but that they put into the engines at Roush Yates. This is the place, right behind Daytona, that everybody from Ford wants to win at.”

Harvick’s fifty fifth profession victory moved him right into a Tenth-place tie with Rusty Wallace, one behind Busch.

Busch remained winless this yr after a fourth-place end, however he turned in stable performances each days. Martin Truex Jr. was one spot forward of him Sunday.

“Yesterday and today, the car drove great. The best driving car I’ve had here at Michigan,” Busch stated. “When you have so much comfort I guess build into the car, you just don’t quite have enough speed. We weren’t going to change that overnight, so we stayed consistent with many of the things that we were doing from yesterday just to have a good, solid effort of it today and not screw anything up.”

Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch stay the highest drivers with no win within the factors standings with 4 races left within the common season.

Keselowski has nonetheless by no means received a Cup race in his residence state of Michigan. He completed second Saturday within the first of the 2 races held with out followers at MIS.

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