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Kevin Harvick continues domination at MIS, roars to FireKeepers Casino 400 victory

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Brooklyn, Mich. — Kevin Harvick’s mastery at Michigan International Speedway continues.

Harvick dominated Saturday’s FireKeepers Casino 400, leading for 92 of the 161 laps and earning his fourth career win at MIS.

Harvick, in his No. 4 Ford, outlasted Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski, who was second, and Martin Truex Jr., who finished third.

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Ryan Blaney was fourth — Blaney led for 27 laps — and Kyle Busch finished fifth.

Saturday’s victory was the fifth this season for Harvick, who leads the NASCAR Cup Series standings. It was Harvick’s 54th career victory.

“We are a week to week team. We talked about this years ago,” Harvick said. “We want to go to the track and worry about one week at a time. We want to be competitive and win as many races as we can and see where it falls in the end.

Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.

“These guys are awesome and when we come to Michigan to ride a car like that is unbelievable.”

All five of Harvick’s wins have come since NASCAR returned to action on May 17 (13 starts).

Harvick is now tied for 11th on the all-time win list with NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty. Rusty Wallace is 10th with 55 career victories.

Chase Elliott swiped the lead with 18 laps to go but Harvick charged past Elliott and Busch — Harvick nearly touched cars with Busch at one point — to regain the lead six laps later, when Cole Custer was forced to the garage after a collision at the wall.

Harvick didn’t believe he touched Busch.

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“I didn’t know if I hit him or not but I saw the video and didn’t touch him,” Harvick said. “I must have packed a bunch of air on his left rear. I knew I needed to be right there. You have to take the chance when you have it and I needed that side-draft down the front straightaway. I got within like an inch it looked like on the video. I didn’t know if I had just barely touched him but in the video I definitely didn’t touch him.”

Harvick held off Keselowski in the final three laps, putting an exclamation point to another successful afternoon at MIS.

“The restarts were obviously a handful but our Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang was really fast today and we held on for the long run and would really go on the short run and did everything we needed it to do,” Harvick said.

“I know they love to win here and we are glad to bring that trophy to them.”

Kevin Harvick (4) competes with Brad Keselowski (2) during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Keselowski has 33 career victories but has yet to win at MIS in 22 attempts.

“He (Harvick) is just super fast in the corners and the straightaway. He was definitely the best car out here today,” Keselowski said. “We put a good effort to kind of maximize our day and that is what we did, finished second.

“We will go back to work on it and hopefully find a little bit more for the race tomorrow.”

Truex Jr. recovered from a slow start to roar into third place.

“We battled back, just like last week,” Truex Jr. said. “You never like to have to go to the rear and it took us the first two stages, but obviously it was a good recovery.”

Byron, Michigan native Erik Jones finished 11th.

This was the first of the doubleheader at MIS, with the Consumers Energy 400 taking place Sunday (4:30 p.m./NBC Sports Network).

Jimmie Johnson, in his final weekend of racing at MIS, finished 12th.

Twitter: @tkulfan