Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Hamlin starts 1st, Busch takes lead at Consumers Energy 400

Hamlin starts 1st, Busch takes lead at Consumers Energy 400

Ford is not only returning home to its global corporate offices in MI, the manufacturer is having a newsworthy week with the recent unveiling of the new Mustang for the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series.

The 2018 NASCAR season rolls on with the 2018 Consumers Energy 400 on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET at Michigan International Speedway. He's been close when he had an elite vehicle, the last time being 2016. And Joey Logano was penalized at the start for an unapproved adjustment to a front shock. He turned a fast lap of 200.150 miles per hour.

The Consumers Energy 400 is underway with Denny Hamlin leading the field to the green flag for the second straight week.

The competition caution was waved on lap 25, during which Busch beat Harvick off pit road. Logano finished sixth, followed by Clint Bowyer, Almorila, Keselowski and Kyle Larson.

At the stage interlude, Jimmie Johnson made a decision to change just two tires, rocketing him up by 15 spots and into the lead. Cindric won the second stage, also 20 laps. Jones brought out the first caution when he spun coming off turn four on lap 10. By lap 93, the top three consisted of the dominant trio of Truex, Harvick, and Busch.

Truex was running with the leaders during the second stage before running out of gas and going into the pits, which were closed.

Harvick passed Jamie McMurray with 11 laps remaining for the winning move, but McMurray had not yet pitted, so Harvick's pass just completed the normal pit cycle.

Rounding out the top five were Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing and Ryan Blaney of the Penske team.

Harvick dominated the third and final stage even though he lost the lead for a bunch of laps as pit sequencing changed on the final fuel run. Harvick's son, Keelan, came out onto the track to grab the checkered flag and wave it to the fans in the grandstand before Harvick drove both his son and the flag back to victory lane. Another restart took place on lap 141 as Harvick continued to lead, but Austin Dillon and Keselowski were tailing him.

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But he needed 18 putts on the back nine for a total of 30, and the difference between being closer to the lead. He made 152 feet, 5 inches of putts Thursday, 72 feet, 5 inches Friday, and 49 feet Saturday.

On Lap 161, Alex Bowman was the first to stop for fuel and tires as soon as they got within their fuel window to make it to the finish.

Harvick has only finished outside of the top-10 four times all year and three of those were DNFs after being part of an incident. Kyle Busch found himself in a tight battle with Ryan Blaney for P2 for a bit but was able to get in front and start on the task of tracking down the 4.

STAGE 1: Harvick won the opening stage for his 11th stage win this season.

Then together, father and son rode to Victory Lane in Harvick's winning No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion, Keelan holding the flag out the passenger side door en route.

"We've had just a great summer". More important than the Ford win and two stage wins for Harvick might just be his sweeping of the seven playoff points that came with it, as he left the Irish Hills of MI with 40 precious playoff points.

"What a vehicle", Harvick said.

"I was sitting there watching (Allgaier and Cindric) go at it".

"I've been on the other end of the stick these past two years and it's such a nice feeling to come into these last few races and know that you're locked-in to the deal", he said. The seven-time Cup champion was running in the top 15 late in the race when a loose wheel led to an unscheduled pit stop and a 28th-place finish a week after he was 30th at Watkins Glen.

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