“Well, that was surprising!” – said no one ever in reference to Kevin Harvick winning in 2018.
Despite that Michigan International Speedway is a big, wide, multilane racetrack, the problems started extremely early in the race for a handful of drivers. The first of which was Erik Jones who, after reporting a bad vibration, brought out the caution on Lap 10 when he got loose and spun in Turn 4. Luckily, Jones was able to keep the car out of the wall and the grass and brought the #20 Toyota to pit road.
Just after the restart, on Lap 15, William Byron and Martin Truex Jr tangled in Turn 3. Byron was loose on the inside lane and slid up the track into Truex. Both spun but only Byron sustained damage and both were able to continue the race. On Lap 25, the competition caution came out to check for tire wear after rain the night before had washed the rubber from the track. Afterward, the string of yellow flags slowed and the stage ran to the end caution-free. Kevin Harvick took the segment victory despite a hard-fought battle with Kyle Busch.
Only one caution flew in Stage 2 for Ryan Newman who hit the wall. Stage 2 also saw 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson take the lead for several laps. However, as the field shuffled with pits stops, eventually it was easy for Kevin Harvick to drive away from the pack. As if there was any doubt, Harvick claimed the second stage win as well, marking his 12th of the season.
On Lap 132, the final caution of the race came out when Ty Dillon in the Geico #13 Chev ran over what was believed to be a battery on the track. The front end of the car dramatically heaved up with an explosion beneath it. Dillon got loose and hit the wall hard, while the undercarriage of the car became engulfed in flames. Dillon was able to exit quickly and was cleared from the infield care center.
With the rest of the field in his rearview mirror, Kevin Harvick drove to victory lane for the 7th time this year. This is a milestone for Harvick as it is the first time in his career that he has experienced this many wins in a single season. The win also ties Harvick with Hall-of-Famer Bill Elliott for 44 career wins.
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