(Motorsport-Total.com) – The double header of the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in the Irish Hills ended on Sunday in the second race with a victory for the driver, who already had the first race on Saturday won: Kevin Harvick (Stewart / Haas-Ford).
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Closer than on Saturday: Harvick 0.093 seconds ahead of Hamlin Zoom
At the Consumers Energy 400, Harvick benefited from a crash between Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney in the battle for the lead. In the end, he kept Denny Hamlin (Gibbs-Toyota) at a distance of less than a tenth of a second, making his personal 2020 Michigan double perfect.
After relegations: Stage wins for Bowyer and Harvick
Actually, Chris Buescher (Roush-Ford) should have started the Sunday race from the best starting position thanks to the reversal of the top 20 of the race result on Saturday. But Buescher was one of eleven drivers who switched to the replacement car for the second race of the double header and therefore lined up at the end of the grid. It was Clint Bowyer (Stewart / Haas-Ford) who led the field with William Byron (Hendrick-Chevrolet) next to him on Sunday’s 156-lap journey.
After Byron had put up a strong resistance in the first lap, Bowyer prevailed and from then on gradually took off. He won the first racing segment (Stage 1) with ease. In Stage 2, Bowyers Stewart / Haas team-mate Harvick clearly dominated the scene. There was no yellow phase in either Stage 1 or Stage 2 due to an incident. That should change in Stage 3.
Penske teammates crash in the battle for the lead
At the restart, which opened the crucial racing segment, Ryan Blaney (Penske-Ford) took the lead. But it didn’t go well for a long time. Because when teammate Brad Keselowski attacked a few laps later in turns 1/2, the duel for the lead led to an internal crash.
Front runner Blaney drove his neon yellow # 12 Penske-Ford about in the middle of the lane. Keselowski, attacking inside, easily lost control of his white # 2 Penske-Ford and caught Blaney, whereupon both ended up in the wall and both were out of the race. There remained the only two failures in the 39-strong field.
“I just lost the car. It was my mistake,” Keselowski did not look for excuses in the TV interview. “I’m sorry for my team-mate Ryan Blaney. He didn’t deserve that.” Blaney’s factual comment on this: “Simply unhappy for the whole Penske team. It’s a shame, because we were really fast. But I definitely won’t hold that against him. Something like that happens. Mistakes happen.”
Duel for sixth win of the season: Harvick keeps Hamlin just behind
The laughing third in the Penske team crash was Denny Hamlin, who inherited the lead with his Gibbs Toyota. At the following restart, however, Saturday winner Harvick immediately took this lead from him again. And so it came down to a duel between the two five-time winners of the season.
With five laps to go, it was Hamlin’s turn. But Harvick positioned his red Stewart / Haas-Ford so cleverly that Hamlin could not find a way past. As on Saturday, Harvick crossed the finish line as the winner, making his weekend double perfect. He is now the one with six wins this season.
NASCAR 2020: Brooklyn 2
The highlights of race 22 of 36 of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series, the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn!
Hamlin stayed in second place, 0.093 seconds back. Gibbs team-mate Martin Truex Jr. finished third again like on Saturday. Kyle Busch put three Gibbs-Toyota in the top 4 on P4. Joey Logano was fifth in the only Penske-Ford to cross the finish line.
Four races to go to the playoffs
In the battle for the playoff spots, Erik Jones (Gibbs-Toyota) and Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick-Chevrolet) are currently the two who would fail first in the 16-man title fight in 17th and 18th place in the table. Both Jones and Johnson are currently 26 points short of the “cut”.
There are now only four races left until the start of the playoffs. The first of these is the premiere on Sunday (August 16) on the circuit in Daytona, which, in addition to the slow infield, also includes large parts of the oval. Then there is the double header in Dover (22/23 August) and as the finale of the regular season the 400-mile oval race in Daytona (29 August).