SPEEDWAY – Kevin Harvick will enter the playoffs coming off a dominating performance in the Brickyard 400.
Harvick led 118 of the 160 laps Sunday to capture the Brickyard 400 for the second time in his career. He also won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2003.
He started from the pole position Sunday.
“I can’t tell how much coming to Indianapolis means to me,” Harvick said. “The crew built a heck of a race car. This is the same stuff we took to Michigan and had a real good weekend there and went to Victory Lane.
“Don’t know if we had the best car, but we had the fastest car. The cautions worked in our favor, and we were able to control the race.”
The only driver able to pass the Mobile One Chevrolet was Ryan Blaney on a restart on Lap 112.
Harvick pitted for the final time on Lap 127 and was on pit road when Kyle Larson brought out the seventh caution flag. He retook the lead when Larson pitted.
Unlike on the previous restart, Harvick elected to take the high line and was able to pull away with Blaney losing several positions to Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace.
Harvick had to hold off the field for two more caution periods, the result of Alex Bowman and Ryan Sieg making contact with the retaining walls.
Logano made Harvick fight for the victory on a restart with nine laps remaining, pulling away to a 6.04-second win with Wallace, William Byron and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five.
Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson’s drive for a 16th straight appearance in the Chase ended on Lap 105 during a restart when he made heavy contact with the Turn 2 wall.
The contact resulted in an eight-car tangle.
Defending race winner Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones were involved in a crash on Lap 48 which Keselowski making hard contact with the Turn 2 inside retaining wall.
“I probably got too close and took the air off the rear of Erik’s car, and after he spun there was nowhere for me to go,” Keselowski said after the crash.
The race was red-flagged for track repairs with Joey Logano winning Stage 1. Both drivers were cleared at the infield medical center.
Regular season champion Kyle Busch’s race ended on Lap 87 when an engine fire broke out.
Harvick won the second stage under caution for debris.
There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers in a race slowed nine times by caution flags for 48 laps.
RACE FOR THE CHASE
There were four drivers competing for the final two spots in the Chase for the championship.
Entering race day, Clint Bowyer was in the 15th spot, eight points ahead of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman.
Four-time Brickyard 400 winner and seven-time champion Johnson was 18 points behind Suarez and Newman and 26 behind Bowyer.
Bowyer started third while Johnson qualified fifth with Suarez starting 20th and Newman in 24th.
Suarez scraped the Turn 2 wall on Lap 11 but was able to continue, and the crew made quick repairs to keep him on the lead lap.
Newman joined Bowyer in the Chase field with an eighth-place finish, and Suarez recovered to finish 11th.