KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has finished second in five of his last six Sprint Cup races at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, but he would like to do one better by scoring his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.
Harvick scored four consecutive second-place finishes at Michigan from June 2013 through August 2014. He finished runner-up to Greg Biffle by 2.989 seconds in June 2013. In August 2013, Harvick finished 1.018 seconds behind Joey Logano. In 2014, he followed Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon across the finish line in the June and August races, respectively. Four races, four second-place finishes to four different drivers.
His lone finish outside the top-two through the last six Sprint Cup races at Michigan came in June 2015, when he started second and led 63 laps, but rain shortened the scheduled 200-lap event to just 138 laps and he finished 29th. He followed that finish up by posting yet another runner-up effort in August 2015, when he started seventh, led 15 laps and finished 1.722 seconds behind race-winner Matt Kenseth.
For his career, the Sprint Cup Series points leader has been to victory lane at Michigan in each of NASCAR’s top three national touring series.
He scored an Xfinity Series win at Michigan in August 2003, when he led 10 laps and beat Kasey Kahne to the finish line under caution. His Sprint Cup win came in August 2010, when he led 60 laps and outran Denny Hamlin to the finish line by 1.731 seconds. He scored a Camping World Truck Series win in August 2011, when he led 13 laps and finished ahead of Timothy Peters as the race finished under caution.
The 2014 Sprint Cup champion’s success at Michigan is good news for anyone who enjoys Outback Steakhouse and its signature Bloomin’ Onion®.
Outback Steakhouse has celebrated Harvick’s 11 top-10 finishes thus far in 2016 by giving its customers a free Bloomin’ Onion on the Monday immediately following the race. And while he’d like to continue those celebrations this weekend by scoring another top-10, he’d prefer to do it in a bigger way – by winning his second Sprint Cup race of the 2016 season.
What does it take to have a good finish in Michigan?
“How you finish at Michigan depends on how your day is going. If you’re having a good day, it’s not really hard to tell your guys what you need and everyone is in a good mood. If you’re having a bad day, you can get behind at Michigan really fast. Usually, when you’re hooked up at Michigan, the leaders have clean air and move through traffic pretty well. But, if you’re in the middle of the pack, you find yourself getting behind and going a lap down pretty quickly. You’re going to end up with a green-flag pit stop and a whole bunch of green-flag laps. You just have to be going from the time the green flag drops and keep yourself in position at the end.”
Do you enjoy racing at Michigan International Speedway?
“I think we’ve finished second there five of our last six races. That second-place thing we have going on is a good thing and a bad thing. I learned a long time ago that sometimes those things happen, so it’s better to be on a second-place streak than a 10th-place streak. The good thing about the racetrack is that it has definitely aged and the groove has spread out over the last couple of races, so you have a lot more options than you did a few years ago when they repaved it. Every time we go back there, it gets a little more racey. When we go back this time, there should be lots of room to race and you’ll see lots of speed. As we go through the restarts and traffic and different things, we’ll have to see how it all goes, but it should be interesting.”
– TSC –
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine